FEMA releases largest mobile app update in time for hurricane season
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is rolling out the largest update to its mobile app in over a decade.
The update comes just in time for the 2022 hurricane season, predicted to be above average. The app, which was first released August 2011, has been redesigned to be easier to use and can be personalized for the user's location.
The goal for the redesign is to make the app a one-stop shop where people can get information needed before, during and after a disaster, according to Gloria Huang FEMA's digital engagement and analytics branch chief.
“Hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, severe weather may affect people in Georgia," Huang said. And also, no matter where you are, you’ll have a lot of different hazards that you have to watch out for. So that is why we want the FEMA app to be one tool to have in your pocket that covers all these things.”
All stages of a disaster matter, Huang said. Before a disaster, the app is meant to make it as easy as possible to get prepared. During a disaster, alerts help the user know how to act quickly. And after, the app has information on available resources, she said.
"Knowing what disaster resources are there makes things a little bit easier on those who have just survived a disaster," Huang said. "It's very overwhelming. It's a difficult time period to get through and so we collect all those resources in one place."
The FEMA app is available in English and Spanish and has accessibility technology including screen readers and voiceovers.
Still more features are coming, Huang said, including high contrast and dark mode, as well as a way to use parts of the app when the internet is down or when cellphone service is spotty, as is often the case after a disaster strikes.