Preparedness

New App Helps People Stay Safe During Natural Disasters

The SC Emergency Manager contains a variety of tools and features that help people prepare for weather disasters or any other kind of emergency.

by Kristina Rackley, Aiken Standard, S.C. / June 26, 2018

(TNS) - The South Carolina Emergency Management Division released a new app last week that will help people prepare for and stay safe during natural disasters.

The app, called SC Emergency Manager, contains a variety of tools and features that help people prepare for weather disasters or any other kind of emergency. It also helps people figure out what to do once an emergency has occurred.

Derrec Becker, SCEMD chief of public info and external affairs, said the app is part of an 'all hazards approach' that enables folks to use it for a variety of disasters and emergency situations.

"There's some basic, fundamental things you need as part of your emergency plan," Becker said. "This app helps you develop your own emergency plan."

The app gives information on closings and delays across South Carolina counties, provides maps with traffic updates from the South Carolina Department of Transportation, and helps users locate natural disaster shelters.

One of the tools is a make-your-plan feature that enables users to record emergency contacts, insurance information, and emergency meeting places. It also provides supplies checklists for users and their pets, where it lists important items to have in emergencies and natural disaster evacuations.

The app also contains a list of tools, such as a GPS locator, a flashlight, and a whistle for your smartphone.

It currently features a variety of information for hurricane evacuations, as hurricane season began on June 1, but Becker said more tools and information for other emergencies may be added in the coming weeks.

"We're going to add more, particularly for residents that live near nuclear power plants," Becker said. "Hopefully that'll be added in the next couple of weeks."

There was some confusion among users when the app first came out over the hurricane zones. The only zones that appear in the app are located along the coast.

"Those zones are for storm surge areas, to get people out of the way of potentially deadly storm surge flooding that you cannot survive," Becker said. "Even though you're not in a zone on the app, everyone is in a local emergency planning zone, and they need to be prepared for all the types of disasters that South Carolina is susceptible to."

Aiken's first annual Emergency Preparedness and Safety Day was held at the Aiken County Government Center June 23. The event showcased agencies that took part in emergency plans and provided more information about the SC Emergency Manager app.

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