If a hurricane was headed toward South Carolina, would you know what to do and what evacuation zone you live in? Once the storm hits, do you know where the closest shelter is and how traffic is if you try to drive to it?
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division has two new tools to help citizens prepare for disasters and get the updated information they need once it hits. SCEMD unveiled its newly upgraded website and a new mobile app on Tuesday.
Director Kim Stenson said the website has been upgraded to provide organized information and to handle more users. “It’s more efficient and it’s easier for you to get access to information,” he said. “It’s better organized and should withstand an incredible number of hits.”
Stenson said SCEMD learned a lot about disaster preparation and what information people need during four major weather events in South Carolina over the past four years, including hurricanes, flooding and an ice storm.
“We’ve gone through these four events and we’ve had no major systemic issues,” he said. “But one of the areas that we’re always concerned about is citizen preparedness and making sure they know what they need to do when something happens. And so this is only going to help to make sure they are well-prepared, because, in a lot of cases, they are going to have to be the help until help gets there.”
Once the app is download, it can be personalized with the user’s own information. But since the app connects to the phone’s GPS locator, there will be no confusion about evacuation zones or which shelter is the closest.
“What we’re hoping is that folks really do become their own emergency manager,” SCEMD spokesperson Derrec Becker said. “Through this app right in your smartphone, you can be ready your way. You have the opportunity to build your own emergency plan, to keep track of your disaster preparedness kit.”
The app also includes features for preparing your pets, current traffic and weather information, school closings and delays, damage reporting, flashlight and whistle functions and push notifications.
“There are a number of different tools that incorporate all the different types of things that could be useful in an emergency,” Becker said. “We took a long look at other types of emergency apps that are out there and we found the one thing that was missing was the ability for folks with their smartphone to put in their own information and to also get information from us live in real time.”
Becker said other states have emergency management apps, but not with this level of user-generated experience or real-time information.
The information you input into the app is saved on your phone and does not upload onto a server. The app also is designed to be accessed even if a data or wireless connection is severed.
Click here for a link to the SCEMD website. To download the app, go to the app store on your device. The download is free.
Watch video here for instructions to download:
Your personal emergency manager has arrived. Presenting the #SCEmergency Manager mobile app. Download a new way to be ready in the Apple App Store:https://t.co/fU9zIBU8mS – And on Google Play: https://t.co/621m1QR9sD #EmergencyPrep #SCTweets #SCWX pic.twitter.com/oLSPC0JBH8
— SCEMD (@SCEMD) May 29, 2018