American Red Cross: Americans Increasingly Using Mobile Apps for Emergencies
Sep 4, 2012, 11:55 AM
In observance of National Preparedness Month, held every September, a new survey from the American Red Cross finds that mobile phone apps now tie social media as the fourth-most popular way to get information in an emergency.
Television, radio and online news took the top three spots. According to the survey, 20 percent of Americans said they have gotten some kind of emergency information from emergency apps created by the government, news outlets and private firms.
Additional key findings from the Red Cross survey:
- Emergency social media users are likely to seek and share information during emergencies, such as road closures, damage reports and weather conditions as well as their own safety status and how they are feeling.
- Three out of four Americans (76 percent) expect help in less than three hours of posting a request on social media, up from 68 percent last year.
- Forty percent of those surveyed said they would use social tools to tell others they are safe, up from 24 percent last year.
The Red Cross continues to encourage people to call 9-1-1 as the best first action if they need emergency assistance, and has also released mobile apps that can provide real time information, including:
- Shelter locations
- First aid tips
- Hurricane preparedness, which includes a flashlight feature and a one-touch “I’m Safe’’ messaging feature that connects directly to the users’ social media channels.
The Red Cross plans to launch several other preparedness apps throughout the Fall that will focus on before, during and after actions for natural disasters.
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This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.