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Tornado App Helps Prepare for and Recover from Tornadoes

Tornado App

As Arkansas and other states recover from recent tornadoes, and even more areas brace for severe weather this week, the American Red Cross is ready to support tornado preparation and recovery efforts. This effort includes a collection of resources and actionable tips in the Red Cross tornado app.

Individuals directly impacted by severe weather and tornadoes can let friends and family know they are safe through the app with the customizable “I’m Safe” notification, sharable through social media, text and email. The app also includes a Red Cross location-based open shelters map for when you need it most.

LIFESAVING INFORMATION The first tab in the app captures familiar Red Cross disaster information. Prepare, during and recovery checklists are packed into each section for easy referral, and if needed, quick action.

Last year, Mike Bettes of The Weather Channel® found one tip in the “if you’re caught outdoors” section a lifesaver. He was with his team in Oklahoma when his vehicle was lifted up and flipped by a tornado. As described in the Red Cross myth vs. fact slideshow, you shouldn’t exit your vehicle if strong winds or debris occur while you are driving. Instead, you should pull over and park, keep your seat belt on and the engine running, put your head below the windows and cover your head with a blanket if available.

Other situation specific information includes preparing for and knowing what to do if the power goes out, preparing for evacuation and mobile home and RV information.

USEFUL FEATURES The emergency tools tab helps create a customized plan for your family, including designating tasks for each family member, determining meeting points outside the home and outside the neighborhood, and listing out of town contacts. You can also add pet friendly hotels and other important contacts, so your entire family emergency plan is recorded and always with you. Other app features include:

  • Simple step-by-step instructions to help you know what-to-do even if the cell towers and TVs are down. Prioritized actions for before, during, and after requires no mobile connectivity.
  • Audible siren that automatically goes off even if app is closed when NOAA issues a TORNADO WARNING helping to reduce the chance of sleeping through an actual warning.
  • Push notification sent when a WARNING expires – especially important if power goes out while you or your family are in your safe room.
  • Help distant friends and family in tornado alley with ability to receive tornado watch and warning alerts based on their location from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • Be ready should a tornado hit by learning how to assemble an emergency kit for your family in the event of power outage or evacuation.
  • Reduce your household’s stress and anxiety should a tornado hit by learning to make and practice an emergency plan.
  • Preloaded content means you have instant access to all safety information at anytime, even without reception or an Internet connection.
  • Know how many tornadoes have occurred in your area.
  • Know the difference between a tornado warning and a tornado alert.
  • Learn how to deal with food and water impacted by floods and power outages.
  • Let others know where you are with the Toolkit’s strobe light, flashlight and audible alert functions.
  • TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE Interactive quizzes allow you to earn badges that you can share with your friends and show off your tornado knowledge. It’s easy to read the prepare information, but quizzes in the app can help you remember key facts.

    For instance, one quiz asks you to select the actions that will help prepare you for an upcoming tornado season. Between “make and practice a plan for your household” and “put together an emergency preparedness kit,” be careful not to click “buy ruby slippers.” You can also drag a number slide to guess the correct number of days you should have a supply of water on hand, per person, as part of your preparedness kit. (It’s three days)

    From your mobile phone, call "**REDCROSS" (**73327677) and we will send you a link to download the app to your phone or you can download them directly from the iTunes or Google Play app stores.

    About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.