Students Create App to Help When Disaster Strikes

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"One of us just made a joke and said 'well, is there an app for that,' and we thought about it,"

It's a simple idea: a way to store important documents like proof of residence, your driver's license, or insurance cards in case a natural disaster destroys your home. Middle schoole students involved with Immaculate Conception's FIRST LEGO League had a thought.

"One of us just made a joke and said 'well, is there an app for that,' and we thought about it," said Megan Naughton, 7th grade. 

It turns out there's not. So the students got online and found a way to create their own app. Now they're working with groups like the American Red Cross to try to make their app become a reality."

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"This is really something different," said Nick Jost, Grant Wood Area Red Cross. "A lot of the apps we have now are for preparedness, you know, not as much for recovery.

The Red Cross is helping the students find the right people to talk to as they look for funding and a developer for SafeDocs. Tuesday the students presented to emergency management coordinators from across eastern Iowa.

"The youth and the ideas that they come up with on what would be seemingly simplistic but the information sharing and gathering that data when disaster happens is imperative to the speedy recovery aspects," said Rick Wulfekuhle, Buchanan County EMA Coordinator. 

Wulfekuhle plans to share the students' idea with others he works with throughout the Midwest. The students hope that if the app launches they'll be able to stay involved.

The students are also using the app as a part of their FIRST LEGO League tournaments. They've qualified for the state competition next month in Ames.