Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Evacuating a Wildfire? There's an App for That

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross hasreleased a free mobile appto help people stay aware of wildfire danger.

The app gives usersinstant access to a so-called “blaze tracker” that issues alerts when conditions are favorable for wildfires and when a wildfire has begun within 100 miles of any location designated by the user. Users can also monitor multiple locations to keep up-to-date with what might be happening in a region susceptible to wildfires where friends or family live.

"A lot of information about wildfires is really hard to get and to take in. Wildfires are big, covering hundreds of acres, and also really fast-moving... [This app] actually even allows you to see the path of a fire, where its perimeter is, and what's happening. And that really makes the information about these big fires a little easier to digest," Sara Kennedy, Director of Communications for American Red Cross Central Texas Region, says.

And, in case of emergency, the app gives locations of open Red Cross shelters and allows users to alert friends and family of their safety with the click of a button.

"It can really overwhelm the local infrastructure if everyone is calling and trying to make sure their friends and loved ones are okay," Kennedy says. "But you can push this little button on the top of the screen with a thumbs up and you can put it out on all your social networks, you can send it as a text to every contact and you can make everyone aware that you're okay."

So what if mobile service isn’t available during a disaster?

“Once you’ve downloaded the app, the information about what to do, how to prepare, what to do if you have to go home after a fire—all of that information is in your phone," Kennedy says. "You don’t need cell service, nothing, you’ve got answers to those super important questions right there."

The Red Cross Wildfire app is available free for both Apple and Android mobile devices.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
Related Content