By Gordon Williams
Edited by Nancy Waddell
Would you like your kids to become savvier and safer in the water? There’s an online Red Cross application that can help teach youngsters to swim and track their progress while they learn.
There’s another Red Cross app aimed at assisting members of the military and their families, and still another with health tips and first aid advice for pet owners.
In all, the American Red Cross has a dozen online apps, all available free from the Apple App Store for Apple devices; the Google Play Store for Android devices; and the Amazon Kindle Store for Kindle Fire devices. You can also access the apps by texting 90999, and typing in the appropriate codeword. Many of the apps are also available in Spanish.
So what can you expect from a Red Cross App?
Take the Earthquake app–an obvious choice for anyone living in the earthquake-prone Northwest.. Once you install it and set a location to be monitored, it will send you earthquake alerts from such government agencies as the National Weather Service, the United States Geological Survey, the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
There’s advice on preparing for a quake. You probably know to store heavy objects on lower shelves, but are your overhead lighting fixtures anchored to joists? Do you know how to turn off gas valves and do you keep a wrench handy to do that? Has a professional made sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation? Finally, the application can alert family and friends that you are safe even if a quake has knocked out power.
The Swim app is designed to complement the Red Cross Learn-to-Swim program. It’s meant to motivate kids to learn to swim, with lots about keeping them safe in the water. The Pet First Aid app explains how to monitor your pet’s health so you can spot problems early. It also explains how to provide first aid if your pet is experiencing a medical emergency. Finally, it can help you find animal hospitals and pet-friendly lodging.
To access any of the apps, search for Red Cross mobile apps at the Apple App store, the Google Play store or the Amazon Kindle Store. You can find the list at redcross.org/mobileapps.
Here are the apps with the code words for accessing them by text to 90999:
- First Aid: Provides instant access to information on dealing with the most common first aid emergencies. Text “GETFIRST”
- Hero Care: A link to resources for those in the military, veterans and their families. Text “GETHEROCARE”
- Blood: Schedule blood donation appointments and track your donation history. Text “BLOODAPP“
- Pet First Aid: All about pet health care. Text “GETPET”
- Emergency: How to monitor more than 35 weather and other emergency alerts. Text “GETEMERGENCY”
- Tornado: Get tornado alerts for your location or that of loved ones, Text “GETNADO”
- Hurricane: Monitor storm conditions in your area and track storms. Text “GETCANE”
- Earthquake: Lots of good advice about quakes. Text “GETQUAKE”
- Flood: Helps you prepare for flooding and evacuation from flood areas. Text “GETFLOOD”
- Monster Guard: Prepares youngsters 7 to 11 for real life disasters–with the help of fictional characters Maya, Chad, Olivia and the monsters. Text “MONSTER”
- Swim: Puts your kids at home in the water. Text “SWIM”