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New Red Cross tornado app can save lives

Published: Saturday, March 16, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

The American Red Cross launched a free tornado app with lifesaving information.

The app – available in English or Spanish – gives iPhone, iPad, and Android smart phone and tablet users instant access to local and real-time information. It will help them know what to do before, during and after a tornado.

The app includes a high-pitched siren and “tornado warning!” alert that signals when a tornado warning has been issued in their area – even if the app is closed. An “all clear!” alert lets users know when a warning has expired or been cancelled.

The audible features will especially benefit people who are sleeping, as tornadoes often happen at night; and those who are away from radio and TV, or in places where weather band radios may not work.

Other features include:

* Location-based tornado, severe thunderstorm, and flood watch; and warning alerts

* Enhanced weather maps and information provided by Weather Underground, a digital brand of The Weather Co.

* One-touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends

* Simple steps and checklists to create an emergency plan and share it with household members

* Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity

* Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light, and audible alarm

* Locations of open Red Cross shelters

* Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks

The app is available at www.redcross.org/mobileapps; or by searching for "American Red Cross" at the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android.

Apps are not a substitute for first aid and CPR/AED training. Go to www.redcross.org/takeaclass to register.

For more information, or to donate, go to www.redcross.org, text REDCROSS to 90999, or by call 1-800-733-2767.

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