Tifton Gazette

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September 21, 2011

GEMA offering free mobile app

TIFTON — The Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) announced Wednesday their release of a free mobile app, available for both iPhone and Android devices, designed to keep all Georgians informed of up-to-the-minute weather and hazard information. It’s called the Ready Georgia mobile app. It can be downloaded from their website at www.ready.ga.gov.

Tift County EMA Deputy Director Vickie Hickman said, “We are excited about this new feature. With today’s technology, it is extremely easy for people to be informed and be prepared. We hope that everyone that can will take advantage of this app.”

Ready Georgia is a statewide campaign designed to educate and empower Georgians to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks, potential terrorist attacks and other large-scale emergencies. The campaign is a project of GEMA and provides a local dimension to Ready America, a broader national campaign.

“Preparation is key to surviving disasters, and the Ready Georgia mobile app makes it easier than ever for Georgians to get prepared, just in time for National Preparedness Month, which runs through September,” said GEMA Director Charley English. “If you’re shopping for emergency supplies, you have a checklist in your pocket. If you see storm clouds, you can check weather alerts. You can even pull up a local map to see if a shelter has been opened in your community.”

Users will be able to create customizable checklists of emergency supplies that allow them to check off items they have obtained for their emergency readiness kit. The app remembers which things they have checked off so that the next time a user is out shopping they can simply pull up the app to see what is left for them to get for their kit.

Their is also a place to make and store disaster plans for their families to follow if an emergency strikes while they are at home, and other plans the family would follow if an emergency called for evacuation.

The app will deliver severe weather alerts that, in a severe situation of imminent threat, will actually push through and alert the user even if the app is not currently on. Situations where a pushed alert might be sent would include severe weather alerts, terrorist attacks, infectious diseases or biological threats.

“Diseases spread fast and the need to reach people in real time with life-saving information is more important than ever,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., Commissioner of DPH. “The Ready Georgia mobile app gives us the ability to instantly deliver potentially life-saving information to almost anyone with a smartphone.”

Users will be able to pull up detailed maps showing evacuation routes and locations of shelters at the time when they need it most. The information is constantly updated so that as shelters open during an emergency they will pop up on the map with a red indicator and a street address. The app will also provide detailed information about what to do in different types of disasters. During times when there is no threat, users may enjoy the feature that allows them to pull up the tornado history and flood risk levels of any area in Georgia.

According to GEMA, despite all the extreme weather in 2011, a majority of Georgians are still not fully prepared for an emergency. GEMA recently conducted a study that indicated 53 percent of households aware of Ready Georgia are more prepared to survive a disaster than those who are unaware of the campaign. With the number of smartphone users expected to grow 55 percent in 2011, the mobile app offers an opportunity to engage a large number of residents in a new way.

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