The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has launched a new feature to its free smartphone app that will enable users to receive push notifications to their devices to remind them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters.
The reminder feature allows users to receive pre-scheduled safety and preparedness tips, including testing smoking alarms, practicing a fire escape plan, updating emergency kits and replacing smoke alarm batteries.
“Our lives are increasingly busy and on-the-go,” said Deputy Administrator of Protection and National Preparedness Tim Manning. “Today, we turn to mobile devices and technology to help us stay more organized and connected. This new feature to FEMA’s app will make it easier for families to remember to take potentially life-saving actions that we all should be thinking about more often.”
“In just two minutes, a home fire can become life-threatening,” said U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell Jr. “Remembering to take small steps to prepare, such as ensuring your smoke alarm is properly maintained and practicing your home fire escape plan, will reduce fire fatalities and ensure our communities are safer. We hope this new feature to FEMA’s app will help save lives by encouraging more families to be prepared.”
The new reminder feature builds upon several innovative tools already built into the app. In addition to push notifications, the app also provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and open recovery centers, and tips on how to survive natural and manmade disasters. The FEMA app also offers a feature that enables users to receive push notifications of weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations across the nation.
Some other key features of the app include:
- Weather Alerts: Users can elect to receive alerts on severe weather happening in specific areas they select, even if the phone is not located in the area, making it easy to follow severe weather that may be threatening family and friends.
- Safety Tips: Tips on how to stay safe before, during, and after over 20 types of hazards, including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.
- Disaster Reporter: Users can upload and share disaster-related photos.
- Maps of Disaster Resources: Users can locate and receive driving directions to open shelters and disaster recovery centers.
- Apply for Assistance: The app provides easy access to apply for federal disaster assistance.
- Information in Spanish: The app defaults to Spanish-language content for smartphones that have Spanish set as their default language.
The latest version of the FEMA app is available for free in the App Store for Apple devices and Google Play for Android devices. Users who already have the app downloaded on their device should download the latest update for the reminder alerts feature to take effect.
The reminders are available in English and Spanish and are located in the “Prepare” section of the FEMA App.