Healthcare Technology Featured Article

May 20, 2011

American Red Cross Using Technology to Prepare People for Hurricane Season

American Red Cross will be adding technology to help people and prepare them for an above-average 2011 Atlantic hurricane season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that 12-18 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes and 3-6 major hurricanes will occur this year. The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1. Red Cross’ officials said that families can take steps now to create a family emergency plan.

Red Cross has developed a free iPhone app that gives the location of all open Red Cross shelters. In addition to mapping the location of a shelter, this app also shows current capacity and population. Users can download the app by visiting the Apple store and “American Red Cross shelters,” said organization’s officials.

In case families do not have an iphone, the shelter information can be obtained from

Red Cross Website by clicking on the option “Find a Shelter.”

Additionally, the Red Cross Safe and Well Web site now allows users to update their Facebook and Twitter status when they register on the site. Safe and Well offers a secure way to let loved ones know where one is going during a hurricane evacuation or that one is safe. Officials said that users can easily let their entire network of friends and family know that they are safe in one step.

“This is an ideal time to get a disaster supply kit ready, make an evacuation plan with your family, and get information on what to do during a hurricane,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Red Cross Disaster Services, adding that it’s also the right time to learn how to locate a shelter or use Safe and Well, and new technology is making it even easier to do that.

Additionally, the American Red Cross is working to prepare vulnerable populations in Haiti with training in early warning systems and emergency first aid.

Earlier this month, the Sprint Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Sprint, made a $100,000 donation to the American Red Cross in support of the recent tragic storms experienced by much of the southern United States.

Anshu Shrivastava is a contributing editor for HealthTechZone. To read more of Anshu’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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