9 App Features That Save Lives During Natural Disasters:
- Prepare app users with advice on disaster preparedness
- Using maps that track natural disasters in real-time
- Planning for evacuations and emergencies
- Monitoring locations and specific hazards
- Sending safety alerts, notifications and messages
- Building a resilient and robust platform
- Localising content, information and services
- Making people your biggest asset
- Using external data sources
How do disaster management apps save lives?
When Mother Nature hits with great force, there’s usually very little anyone can do to stop her. Natural disasters can be truly devastating and terrifying phenomenons to experience. I mean, what can anyone really do to stop a hurricane or an earthquake?
That’s where disaster management technology can come to the rescue, not only responding to emergencies and disasters when they happen but preparing communities, by educating them on the best ways to prepare for the inevitable.One of the most effective ways we’ve seen this done is with a mobile app.
In all our time working with disaster preparedness and management organisations, we’ve experienced first hand the impact apps can truly have, and the sheer number of lives they have the potential to save.
One such organisation is The Red Cross, check out how they respond to disasters:
The Red Cross Emergency app.
Emergency developed by 3 Sided Cube for The Red Cross is a disaster management platform that was put to the test during Hurricane Harvey and Irma late last year. Together the storms caused the worst flooding disaster in U.S history. But thanks to the Red Cross, many lives were saved through relief workers, shelters and the Emergency app that people were relying on.
As the hurricane hit, people were using the app to track the storm, get alerts if they were in danger, and plan evacuation routes in worst-case scenarios. To put things into perspective, the app had 75 million server requests for emergency information during the hurricane.
Having experienced something of this scale, I feel as though there’s a real opportunity to make an impact and help save more lives during times of catastrophe. Take a quick glance at the app below before we get started on the life-saving features:
How do you prepare for a disaster?
Imagine hearing the sound of a hurricane siren…How terrifying must it be to KNOW that a disaster is about to hit and that you and your family are in immediate danger.
What could be worse?
Not being prepared. There are a number of ways you can prepare for a hurricane that people have learnt and shared throughout their communities over the years. It’s this education and understanding which has arguably been the biggest life-saver before technology allowed us to do the same thing on a vastly larger scale.
That’s why it’s so, so important that disaster management apps include advice on what to do BEFORE the disaster strikes. It could be a fact file, a quiz, a survival game… as long as people are engaged and learning, it’ll save lives.
Choose the disaster you want to prepare for. Before, during and after it hits. Get the most important information and tips on how to stay safe.
How do you track disasters?
What question would you ask if I told you that a tornado is going to hit soon? If ‘how soon?’ Isn’t your first, it must be a close second. Having the ability to track disasters in real-time means that you can know when and where the disaster is going to hit.
And this isn’t just the ‘eye of the storm’ either, there are many other hazards that follow disasters, flooding and power cuts are two that come to mind. Having this knowledge means that you could be sure that the right preparations were put into place before danger arrives.
Filter the map based on types of hazards and see where the storm is right now, and more importantly, where it’s heading.
What's the best way to plan an evacuation?
We don’t blame you for not having an answer… We probably wouldn’t have one either. But in worst case scenarios, which are often all too real, you might have to face evacuating your town before a disaster strikes in order to get to safety.
Worse yet, picture having to evacuate your home in the middle of a disaster. Definitely not “plan A” but if your home is being devastated and is no longer safe, you don’t really have a choice.
That’s why in times like these, being able to check your location on a real map really does save lives. That way you can have an evacuation plan in place so that if the worst does happen, you can get to your nearest emergency shelter as quickly and safely as possible.
Make a plan to find/meet friends and family. And find you’re nearest Red Cross shelter in case you need to evacuate.
How do you know that disaster is about to strike?
As you’re probably thinking, you can’t.
Unfortunately we’re yet to develop a sixth sense that alerts us when we’re in immediate danger. Luckily, apps can do just that. Emergency alerts save lives by letting people know when they need to get to a safe area, or prepare themselves for the hazards that they will be experiencing imminently.
A terrifying concept to think about, receiving an alert that you’re in immediate danger. But imagine how grateful you’d be to have even a few extra minutes to get yourself prepared.
Monitor specific locations for hazards. Set an alert radius and decide on which types of dangers you want to monitor.
Making sure your family is safe.
In the aftermath of an earthquake chaos and fear can set in quickly. But once you’ve made sure you’re safe and in the clear, your family and friends are the first people you think about. Imagine how worrying it must be to know that your family could be seriously injured or worse.
This doesn’t have to be a problem and is in fact quite a simple problem to solve. Being able to send personalised messages with the touch of a button to anyone in your contact list, that’s how we can quickly and easily put our family’s minds at ease knowing that everyone is safe and okay.
Edit personal messages, share your location and reach out to people in your contact list.
How do you make sure your app doesn't crash?
I don’t like to think about it. Or contemplate the consequences of an emergency app going down during a disaster. People will be relying on your app to get themselves to safety, that’s why keeping their life-line alive is by far THE most important thing to do.
When disasters hit it’s obvious to say that traffic to your app will increase, but when hundreds of thousands of people are relying on your app to help them, the pressure can get intense and often too much for many servers to handle.
A live app keeps people alive.
Hazards Platform: Requests-to-server (per minute) on the 26th of August 2017; during the peak of the storms.
App translation VS localisation.
Translating an app for users in different locations is often as far as developers will go.
And you’d think this was an obvious feature that’s easily covered, but it’s a little more complicated than that. Even within countries that speak the same language, things like terms, phrases and information can be completely different.
Emergency service numbers, for example, the last thing you’d want during a disaster is to hit the emergency services button and not get through.
Making sure your app is easy to use and easy to understand FOREVERYONE, it will make sure the disaster preparedness app can save lives when it matters the most.
People are your biggest asset!
Speaking of data, your users can be one of your most valuable sources.
By sending user alerts and checking which dangers and hazards they are experiencing, we can record this information and then do the same thing within a ten-mile radius.
This way you can begin to map out the areas that different hazards are affecting, building a ‘heat-map’ which can be used to geo-locate emergency alerts and notifications.
That’s chained crowdsourcing, extremely valuable in not only generating data, but also confirming it.
A visualisation of chained crowdsourcing. Showing how users reporting hazards can be used to map out an affected area.
Which data sources should you use?
Obviously, data is extremely important when it comes to disaster management. Think about things like weather, users or location-based information.
In the case of disasters, incorrect data can lead to life-threatening situations.
Use a range of data sources to make sure that the information your app is providing is as accurate as possible. A few of these sources include:
- Met Offices
- GDACS (Global Disaster Alerting Coordination System)
- USGS (United States Geological Survey)
- NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).
To name but a few.
Disaster management apps provide the opportunity to save countless lives in the face of natural disasters.
If the right steps are taken, and the right features included, we can innovate the way people prepare for, deal with and recover from catastrophes.
Making a social impact on a global scale is not something that either app developers or disaster management organisations can achieve alone.
We need to come together, discuss and feedback on our ideas and innovations to save as many lives as possible.
Published on April 24, 2018, last updated on November 19, 2018
- Prevention. The best way to address a disaster is by being proactive. ...
- Mitigation. Mitigation aims to minimize the loss of human life that would result from a disaster. ...
- Preparedness. ...
- Response. ...
(1) Reduce, or avoid, losses from hazards; (2) Assure prompt assistance to victims; (3) Achieve rapid and effective recovery.What are the 10 keys to surviving a disaster? ›
- Be mindful of the different kinds of disasters so that you can always be prepared. ...
- Try not to panic. ...
- Know your limits. ...
- Act: Physically prepare and rehearse your plan; and don't be afraid to modify it as your needs change.
- Learn how to do more with less. ...
- Keep it simple.
- Consider the buildings. ...
- Secure furniture. ...
- Create a cache of emergency supplies. ...
- Drop, cover and hold on. ...
- Hold earthquake drills. ...
- Practice evacuation plans. ...
- Be prepared for search and rescue.
- Assess your risk – both internally and externally.
- Assess your critical business functions.
- Prepare your supply chain.
- Back-up your data.
- Create an emergency management plan.
- Create a crisis communications plan.
- Assemble emergency supplies.
- Plan for an alternate location.
In disasters, there are three broad areas of risk to health: the hazard that can cause damage, exposure to the hazard and the vulnerability of the exposed population (see also Chapters 1.3 and 2.5) (1).What are the 3 types of disasters Class 9? ›
Geological Disaster: Landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes. Biological Disaster: Viral epidemics, pest attacks, cattle epidemic and locust plagues. Industrial Disaster: Chemical and industrial accidents, mine shaft fires, oil spills.What are the 4 types of disaster management? ›
Emergency managers think of disasters as recurring events with four phases: Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery. The following diagram illustrates the relationship of the four phases of emergency management.What is disaster Class 9 project? ›
A disaster is a destructive event that occurs suddenly and involves loss of life and property. Disasters can be of two types, natural and man-made. Earthquakes, volcanic activity, tsunamis, floods, cyclones, landslides, avalanches and droughts are natural disasters and man has no control over them.What are the 8 principles of disaster management? ›
The ethical principles applied during disasters: (i) Humanitarian assistance; (ii) Information and participation during disasters; (iii) Compulsory evacuation of populations; (iv) Respect of dignity; (v) Respect of persons; (vi) Emergency assistance for the most vulnerable persons; (vii) The importance of rescue ...
- Raising awareness about potential hazards and how to address them.
- Educating the public about how to properly prepare for different types of disaster.
- Installing and strengthening prediction and warning systems.
- Understand what situations involving risk may be worth taking vs. those that aren't.
- Look outwards and inwards to study potential risks that could hurt the business.
- Have a proactive risk management plan in place.
- Keep Risk Where It Belongs.
Investing in disaster risk reduction (DRR) saves lives and money and future-proofs our development gains. Investments in DRR not only curb disaster losses. They also yield economic, social and environmental benefits that enhance the well-being and resilience of countries and communities.What are the 7 emergency management steps? ›
- Planning – Work through many emergency scenarios. ...
- Training – ...
- Drills – ...
- Education – ...
- Technology – ...
- Coordination – ...
- Communication –
- Stop to assess the situation – watch out for danger. ...
- Make sure it is safe to approach the scene. ...
- Make the area safe. ...
- Assess the victim. ...
- Call for help.
- Resuscitate and treat injuries as necessary.
In keeping with Quarantelli, one approach to disaster management process is to include activities in six areas: (1) hazard, risk, and vulnerability (HRV) analysis; (2) mitigation; (3) response (including alert and warning, impact, immediate post-impact, and rescue); (4) recovery and reconstruction; (5) education and ...What are the 3 types of disasters PDF? ›
Man-made disasters are classified into technological disasters, transportation accidents, public places failure, and production failure. The paper presents a comparison between the main types of disasters. Findings – Disasters are classified into three types: naturals, man-mades, and hybrid disasters.What are the 3 effects of disaster? ›
In general three outcomes are possible: recovery, stagnation, or decline.What are the 3 natural causes and disasters? ›
Different disasters occur due to various causes. Causes for such calamities can be contributed to deforestation, soil erosion, and pollution.What is a disaster Class 9 in 100 words? ›
A disaster is a serious disruption, occurring over a relatively short time, of the functioning of a community or a society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental loss and impacts, which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources.
Answer. A disaster occurs when the impact of a hazard on a section of society is such that the people are unable to cope with the event, causing death, injury, loss of property and economic losses.What is disaster Class 9 long answer? ›
A disaster is defined as a disruption on a massive scale, either natural or man-made, occurring in short or long periods. Disasters can lead to human, material, economic or environmental hardships, which can be beyond the bearable capacity of the affected society.What are the 20 types of natural disasters? ›
- Hurricanes and tropical storms.
- Landslides & debris flow.
- Thunderstorms and lighting.
- Winter and ice storms.
It is at this level of disaster that you will also have to. deal with non-technical issues well before your technology plant can come back. online. Level 5 disasters almost always include loss of physical space and—unfortunately—loss. of life as well.What are the 2 main types of disaster? ›
Types of disasters usually fall into two broad categories: natural and man-made. Natural disasters are generally associated with weather and geological events, including extremes of temperature, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and drought.What are the 7 types of disaster? ›
- Tornadoes and Severe Storms.
- Hurricanes and Tropical Storms.
These disasters can be: Geophysical (e.g. Earthquakes, Landslides, Tsunamis and Volcanic Activity) Hydrological (e.g. Avalanches and Floods) Climatological (e.g. Extreme Temperatures, Drought and Wildfires)What is a disaster Class 7? ›
(a) A sudden happening that causes enormous damage to life, property and social aspects of a nation or society is called a disaster. (b) Disasters are of two types: Man-made disasters: These disasters are the result of technological or human hazards.What are the 7 common problems in disaster management? ›
- Hazardous waste.
- Property damage.
- Structural damage to buildings.
- Loss of utilities like electricity and water.
- Debris cleanup and waste management solutions.
- Infrastructure-related problems such as closed roads and communication losses.
Current thinking defines four phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
First Things to Do in Any Emergency
Decide whether it is safer to evacuate or shelter-in-place. Once safely evacuated or sheltered-in-place, call for help using 911 and clearly explain what you know about the situation. Provide first aid for any injured people. Move any people who are injured away from further danger.
- Bleeding. Cuts and wounds cause bleeding, but severe injury can also cause internal bleeding that you can't see. ...
- Breathing difficulties. ...
- Someone collapses. ...
- Fit and/or epileptic seizure. ...
- Severe pain. ...
- Heart attack. ...
- A stroke.
- Stay Updated. ...
- Practice Safety Drills. ...
- Get All Important Documents Copied and Compiled. ...
- Know Escape Routes and Nearest Shelter Locations. ...
- Prepare An Emergency Bag. ...
- Stock Up on Food and Water. ...
- Charge Your Phone (and Pack Your Charger)
The five different steps that can be taken to reduce the impact of these disasters are (i) Creating public awareness. (ii) Creating community preparedness. (iii) Creating a resource map (both human and material). (iv) Liasion with a government hospital.How We Can Save disasters? ›
- Install fire detectors.
- Use fire-resistant building materials when possible.
- Practice fire prevention around your home.
- Don't keep fuel sources on your property.
- Keep trees trimmed and remove dead foliage.
- Avoid using tools that create sparks in dry or windy areas.
- Loss Prevention and Reduction.
- Avoid risk.
- Reduce or mitigate risk.
- Transfer risk.
- Accept risk.
The objective is to be prepared to: Prevent fatalities and injuries. Reduce damage to buildings, stock, and equipment. Protect the environment and the community.What is disaster risk reduction examples? ›
Reducing exposure to hazards, lessening vulnerability of people and property, wise management of land and the environment, and improving preparedness and early warning for adverse events are all examples of disaster risk reduction.What are the main features of disaster? ›
Drabek (1986, 46-47), state that disasters have six characteristics that differentiate them from emergencies: (1) degree of uncertainty, (2) urgency, (3) development of an emergency consensus, (4) expansion of the citizenship role, (5) convergence (i.e., the sudden influx of people and material upon a disaster scene), ...
- For planning and implementation of disaster plans.
- To prevent or mitigate people from disaster-affected areas.
- To respond and recover from disaster events.
- Coordination and management of disaster-affected areas.
Defining an emergency
Poses an immediate threat to life, health, property, or environment. Has already caused loss of life, health detriments, property damage, or environmental damage. has a high probability of escalating to cause immediate danger to life, health, property, or environment.
Prevention of threat, Reduction of risk or its consequences, Readiness to deal, Promptness in coping with a disaster, Assessing the severity of the effects, Rescue and Relief, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction in response to any disaster.What are the 5 P's of disaster? ›
We need five “Ps” to cope up with recurring disasters — prominence, as in the role of governments; a pool of funds; planning, especially long-term, of rehabilitation and development; policy qua institutional support; and preparedness qua countermeasures.What are the 3 emergencies? ›
- National emergency under Article 352.
- President Rule, under Article 356.
Evacuation Procedures, Escape Routes, and Floor Plans.What are the 3 types of emergency categories? ›
The Integrated Emergency Management Plan is designed to react to natural, technological and human-caused emergencies.What are the 10 words related to disaster risk reduction and management? ›
- Prevention. Activities and measures to avoid existing and new disaster risks (often less costly than disaster relief and response). ...
- Mitigation. ...
- Transfer. ...
- Preparedness. ...
- Risk identification. ...
- Risk reduction. ...
- Preparedness. ...
- Financial protection.