Mobile Apps make it easier to be prepared for emergencies
By Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Public Health Educator for Orleans County
September is National Preparedness Month! In our area we generally think of snow and ice-related emergencies, however it is also important to be ready for threats caused by flooding, high winds, earthquakes, fires, chemical spills and infectious diseases.
Thankfully, getting prepared for all types of emergencies is made easier with the assistance of Mobile Apps like Ready Genesee, Orleans Aware and FEMA.
These apps are similar in nature in that all connect consumers to weather alerts, planning features and information on available shelters. Apps like these are user-friendly and give consumers the tools to take part in their own preparedness, which will positively impact the outcome of any emergency.
If you live, work, or visit Genesee or Orleans Counties download the Ready Genesee (click here) and Orleans Aware (click here) Apps, which are available on apple and android devices, as well as in English and Spanish too.
“The Emergency Management Offices and Health Departments in both counties teamed up to have these apps made available in an effort to have a local focus,” said Bill Schutt, Deputy Coordinator of Emergency Management Services. “County officials can use this app not only to get information to users before, during, and after emergencies in a more direct and modern way but also to share knowledge on a regular basis too.
“Since Ready Genesee and Orleans Aware became available to download earlier this year, the counties have utilized the apps to notify users of road closings, a boil water notice, a gas leak, rabies clinics, as well as sharing of informational articles on the recent drought, Zika virus, Lyme Disease and lightning safety,” Schutt said.
If you don’t travel to either county, the FEMA app is a good, reputable option too but it is important to note that users will not receive notifications or general information from their county officials, stated Schutt.
Features of Ready Genesee and Orleans Aware Mobile Apps
My Plan: By answering five simple questions, the app will create a customized emergency supply checklist and plan based on your family’s needs, including pets and relatives with special needs.
Alerts: Get information from the National Weather Service and local county officials. Local officials can instantly inform you of situations including, but not limited to, road closings, evacuation notices, boil water notices, gas leaks, an active shooter or missing persons.
My Status: With the push of a button let friends and loved ones know “I’m Safe” or “I Need Help.”
EvacMap & Shelters: Find evacuation routes and shelters with on and offline mapping.
Need to Know: E-books on various topics including Public Health Emergencies, Need to Know Preparedness for Pet Owners, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Floods and Fire Safety.
Services: Have contact information to services helpful in an emergency
“The full potential of these new apps will be recognized more so as different emergencies arise and I predict that utilization will increase too,” stated Al Cheverie, Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for Genesee and Orleans. “After downloading your App, please take the time to collect the emergency supplies for your home and car. Being ill prepared for a situation where you are unable to leave your house or car can be dangerous if certain supplies such as necessary medications, blankets, food and water aren’t on hand.”