New disaster preparedness app to be piloted on Vancouver Island
Researchers behind a new mobile app say their work will make it easier for households to be prepared in the event of an emergency.
The Canadian Hazards Emergency Response and Preparedness (CHERP) app developed at the University of British Columbia will tailor the needs of users based on their location and what information is put in to the app.
As part of the app’s development, a trial will begin in November in seven communities across Vancouver Island.
Researchers say the app goes beyond the usual preparedness lists provided by governments and allows users to customize their response to their unique needs.
Based on location and the needs of those living in the household, including pets, the app helps users develop a plan with information gathered from local authorities.
The app also educates and informs users on possible threats in their area, such as tsunamis or oil spills.
Researcher Ryan Reynolds, from the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning, said the idea for the app came from residents in Port Alberni, B.C., who were confused about where to find information following a tsunami warning and evacuation in 2018.
“We wanted to be able to clear that up for them working directly with community partners so that we can definitively say, 'You live inside or outside of that zone,'” says Reynolds. "[We're] basically trying to bring all that together in a simple-to-use package.”
Reynolds says the app is still in development and should be widely available in two years, depending on funding.