Public Safety

Resolve to be Ready: SD Emergency Mobile App Gets Major Upgrade

Did you get a new smartphone or tablet for the holidays? Looking for the best new apps for the New Year?

A must-have app for every San Diegan is SD Emergency, the County’s free disaster preparedness and information app. Starting today, a significantly upgraded SD Emergency app with new features and clear improvements is available in the Apple App and Google Play stores.

“We’re asking all San Diegans to “Resolve to be Ready” in 2014, and the improved app makes it easy to keep that resolution,” said Supervisor Ron Roberts. “The new version has everything you need to prepare for disasters that affect San Diego, like wildfires, and users will find the new sharing capabilities, notifications and other features very compelling and useful.”   

To encourage San Diegans to download the app and take other key preparedness steps, Supervisor Roberts and the County Office of Emergency Services today announced a giveaway promotion: The first 3,000 people to install SD Emergency, fill out the plan and register their cell phones or email addresses with AlertSanDiego, the County’s mass calling system, will earn a free two-person camping tent donated by Target. (Complete details of the promotion, including alternatives for people without mobile devices, are here.)

SD Emergency is a unique local resource divided into three parts—“Ready,” “Emergency,” and the new “Recovery” — that lets San Diegans use mobile devices to prepare for disasters, stay informed throughout an emergency and get back on their feet afterwards. Features include: 

Ready features

  • Users can create a family disaster plan in the app and now they can share it with family members. They can import the plan into their own apps or save it to a computer and print it. Now everyone in the household knows where to meet if the family is separated during a disaster, who to call if local phone lines are jammed and other critical plans.
  • Users can back up information created in the app on Google Drive and Apple iCloud. When users replace their mobile devices, they can import the information.
  • Interactive checklists guide users to help them assemble a home emergency kit that would help their family survive without assistance for 72 hours. The app notifies users when food, water and other items in the kit expire.

Emergency features

  • The emergency map now incorporates universally recognized response and recovery icons that help overcome language and cultural barriers.
  • Push notifications inform users when the app is updated with new emergency information from the County. Notifications are timelier than before, and a problem some users experienced opening the app when notified has been corrected.

Recovery features

  • The new app also has a section for recovery information. After our next major wildfire or other disaster, users will find information to help them rebuild and recover.

General

  • A new Settings section lets users better control notifications and other options.
  • The app’s underlying code has been updated, and it’s compatible with many more Android devices and operating system versions than the previous version.

Supervisor Roberts spearheaded the effort to create the County emergency app two years ago, and the Office of Emergency Services oversaw the development of SD Emergency and released the first version about 15 months ago.

SD Emergency aims to put critical, real-time information at users’ fingertips during a regional emergency. The app includes a detailed map and news updates from the County’s Emergency Operations Center about subjects such as road closures, evacuation areas and shelter locations. It also includes County, CAL FIRE, and other local social media feeds.

The region has not experienced a large-scale disaster since the app’s launch, but County information officers and emergency managers used the app and other tools in 2012 and 2013 to disseminate information to rural residents about wildfires that prompted evacuations and other emergencies.

“Fortunately, we’ve avoided a major wildfire like those in 2007 or 2003 since the app’s creation,” Office of Emergency Services Director Holly Crawford said. “Still, with this year’s near record drought and winter Santa Anas and the real possibility of large-scale fires every year in our region, we know it’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if.’ Mobile device users will turn to SD Emergency in the next regional disaster, and it will be an important resource.”

Details of the “Resolve to be Ready” promotion and links to download the app are at ReadySanDiego.org.