New Mobile App Helps You Get and Give Help During a Natural Disaster

File photo date 01/07/08 of an Apple iPhone as three-quarters of parents with smartphones share apps with their children and
File photo date 01/07/08 of an Apple iPhone as three-quarters of parents with smartphones share apps with their children and more than a third consider them to be an 'integral' part of family life, according to a study.

During a large scale natural disaster there is always a challenge facing people who want to quickly and easily contact the people they care about. Today people reach out via multiple communication channels to share their status and make sure that they know the status of their loved ones -- email, social media, phone calls, text messages. Whatever it takes to get the accurate, helpful information out. As with most things preparation makes a big difference.

In Japan after the earthquake and tsunami thousands of people used a mobile app called jResQ that was developed within days of the disaster striking. It allowed people to quickly connect with loved ones using email, voicemail, and GPS, confirming their safety. And more recently, during Sandy we saw an increased use of social media to communicate with friends and family and ask for assistance.

The growing use of mobile and social media technologies, coupled with the firsthand experience we've had working with relief agencies on the ground, encouraged us to create Help Bridge. It's a free mobile app that's designed to help you get and give help in the aftermath of a large-scale disaster. HelpBridge makes it super simple to send a message with just a couple of clicks to your pre-prepared list of emergency contacts via SMS, email, and/or Facebook.

After a disaster, generally people's second instinct is to see how they can help -- and recent research demonstrates that the second-most preferred method of helping is via text-to-give. That's why we included a "giving" portion of the app that enables you to give money, time, and resources to support relief and rebuilding efforts. You'll find the leading disaster relief agencies within the app, you'll also find a list of specific requests from relief agencies for goods required on the ground, and you'll find local and national volunteer opportunities to support relief efforts.

HelpBridge is a useful tool, but the real key to responding to a disaster is being prepared. You need to think about what other ways you can get prepared ahead of an unexpected event - backing up your important files and documents online, creating a family emergency plan, and more.

Click here
to learn more about HelpBridge today as a part of your disaster preparedness.