A high-pitched alert signals even if the app is closed.

Staff report


The American Red Cross has launched its official tornado app, putting life-saving information in the hands of Northeast Ohio residents.

This free app, available in English or Spanish, gives iPhone and Android smartphones and iPad and tablet users instant access to local and real-time information, so they know what to do before, during and after a tornado.

The app includes a high-pitched siren and “tornado warning” alert that signals people when a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tornado warning has been issued in their area, even if the app is closed.

An “all-clear” alert lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or has been canceled. Individuals can download the app from the Red Cross website at: http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/tornado-app.

Tornadoes often happen in the overnight hours when people are sleeping, said Karen Conklin, executive director of the American Red Cross of the Mahoning Valley. The audible alerts in this app can save lives even if users can’t monitor the weather because they are away from radio, TV or in places where weather-band radios may not work, she said.

Other features of the app include:

Location-based NOAA tornado, severe thunderstorm and flood watch and warning alerts.

Enhanced weather maps.

One-touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends that they are out of harm’s way.

Pre-loaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity.

Locations of open Red Cross shelters.

“The Red Cross has made great strides in putting vital information in the hands of people who need it during emergencies. Our apps are now on more than two million mobile devices across the country,” Conklin said.

The Red Cross also recommends Northeast Ohio residents download its first-aid app at http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/first-aid-app.

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