As part of the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network, the Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC) is a resource center that promotes innovation in disaster preparedness and supports learning and knowledge sharing amongst disaster preparedness practitioners worldwide. One key aspect of the GDPC’s work is promoting creative uses of technology and innovative approaches in disaster preparedness programs. Through the Universal App Program, the GDPC has created a platform to facilitate the adaptation and localization of mobile applications (apps) with first aid and hazard information for use in countries across the globe.
The GDPC’s Universal App Program provides efficient and cost-effective access to first aid and hazard apps that inform users about what to do before, during and after emergencies. The GDPC has created an easily-adaptable mobile app platform—based on existing Red Cross mobile apps—and works with Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies around the world to facilitate the localization and customization of app content. These national societies drive the development and marketing of the apps, ensuring that the content is appropriate and relevant to each local context.
Program benefits include:
- An easy-to-use interface that puts localized preparedness information directly into the hands of millions of people;
- Multi-lingual capability;
- No cost to national societies, who have complete ownership of app content, and
- Apps are compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
The program currently provides national societies opportunity to localize two mobile applications: the First Aid app and the Hazard app.
Created in collaboration with the Red Cross Global First Aid Reference Center, First Aid app content is licensed by the British Red Cross and based on the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) First Aid Guidelines. National societies are able to make content changes to align with local guidelines and practices.
The First Aid app contains easy-to-understand information about how to identify and respond to a range of common first aid scenarios, such as bleeding, heart attacks, choking and burns.
The FA app include:
- Learn, Prepare and Emergency First Aid sections focusing on everyday first aid scenarios,
- Step-by-step instructions—including videos and illustrations—on how to respond to each condition,
- Tests, quizzes and badges that users can share on social media, and
- Built-in resource mobilization features allowing national societies receive donations and highlight partnerships.
Hazard apps help enhance individual disaster preparedness by allowing users to monitor weather developments, prepare for disaster scenarios and find help when disasters do strike. App content is adapted from the IFRC’s Public Awareness and Public Education for Disaster Risk Reduction key messages, and incorporates data feeds from official reporting agencies in each country.
The HZ app include:
- Simple steps and checklists to help prepare for and respond to emergencies,
- Ability to send targeted push notifications to users, incorporating official government alerts with Red Cross “What Now” messages,
- Disaster toolkit that includes a flashlight, an alarm and an “I’m Safe” messaging feature allowing users to notify friends and family of their location in the event of a disaster, and
- Ability for users to personalize the app by linking to social media and filtering alerts to specific locations.
The map below list the countries where the First Aid app is live (red) and those countries that have expresed interest in working with the GDPC to launch the First Aid app for their users.