New app offers Iron County residents all-in-one emergency preparedness, resources

Stock photo |St. George News

CEDAR CITY — Iron County residents now have free access to a helpful new app to prepare for emergency disaster situations including winter storms and extreme cold, thunderstorms and lightning, earthquakes, floods and wildfires.

The “Iron County UT Community Preparedness” app is available for both Android and Mac users. It can be accessed on the Iron County Web page for the app, the Apple App Store and Google Play store.  

The app came to fruition after a brainstorm session between Iron County Emergency Management Coordinator John Higley and a QuickSeries Publishing sales representative. It is Iron County specific, Higley said, and comprehensive enough to eliminate the need for a number of other preparedness apps.

“On my smartphone I had probably five or six different free (preparedness) apps,” Higley said, “one from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), one from the Red Cross, one from the American Heart Association, another one from another place that did several of the things that this one application does but didn’t do all of it.”

Before coming on as Iron County’s emergency management coordinator, Higley said, his previous background allowed him to network with a variety of publishers who work in the realm of emergency preparedness — QuickSeries Publishing happened to be one of them.

The collaboration between Higley and QuickSeries on the development of the project resulted in all-inclusive application that will help Iron County residents deal with a disaster situation in a multitude of ways.  Since this was the first launch of this particular preparedness app, QuickSeries Publishing waived the $10,000 setup fees for Iron County, Higley said.

By answering five basic, personalized questions about family, the application helps to develop an emergency plan specific to the user’s life. Questions include the number of people in the family, number of pets, an emergency meeting place, an out-of-town contact and a list of contacts to update in an emergency situation. With the touch of one button, users can send a message to everyone in their specified list letting them know if they are safe or in need of help.

The application is compatible with FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. According to a news release issued by Iron County, this means that “any local disaster will be broadcast to all cell phone users in Iron County as well as to all individuals who have installed the application on their smartphone.”

Users can learn how to shop for emergency supplies, where to locate emergency services, view evacuation routes and connect with communication resources.

Additionally, there are five electronic booklets that address natural disaster situations including winter storms and extreme cold, thunderstorms and lightning, earthquakes, floods and wildfires.

“They really had put together a lot of thought into this application,” Higley said. “It gives me the information I need right at my fingertips.”

With added features like information about what to do in case of a power outage, as well as a link that updates local and state road conditions statewide, Higley said the app is an unprecedented emergency resource for everyone who lives in Iron County.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.


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