Tornado – an American Red Cross App for Android Review

Tornado - American Red Cross for Android Review

After reading Travis’s post on the alerts being added to iOS, I started thinking about actual apps instead of the textual messages that the federally mandated messaging being built into the handsets.  Can they do it better?

I loaded another couple of apps on my phone in preparation of the last line of storms that rolled through the Columbus, Ohio area.  The last line that rolled through our area was supposed to be similar to the Derecho that rolled through our area last year, so needless to say I was on alert! I loaded two additional apps to test during this line, and there was one app that out-performed all of the rest — including the government alerts that Travis talked about.  That app was the American Red Cross’s Tornado App.

The American Red Cross has apps for almost every natural disaster including Hurricane‘s and Earthquakes, but this review will center in on the Tornado app.

Tornado - American Red Cross for Android Review

First, before the storms roll through, it pays to be prepared.  This app actually has a good list of things you should do before a tornado hits.

Tornado - American Red Cross for Android Review

There are even tests that you can use to quiz yourself on your knowledge of these storms.

Tornado - American Red Cross for Android Review

The app also includes some area history as well.  You can pull up a map showing how many tornadoes have hit your area over time.

The app itself also will alert you when your area us under a watch or warning for Severe Thunderstorms or Tornado.  This app was the first of the alerts that came through during our recent severe weather, coming in well before the built-in apps or WeatherBug Elite.  Early warnings are really what it will take to keep you and yours safe, and the earlier the better.  Unfortunately, I forgot to snap a screenshot of the warning, but I did get them via this app before any other app.

Tornado - American Red Cross for Android Review

If your area is hit by a storm, you can use the app to find the nearest American Red Cross shelter that’s open — that is, if you still have cell service! 🙂

It’s not a matter of if a disaster will hit; it’s when.  Information and preparation are friends in a disaster.  Not only can you stay informed with this app, but you can use it to provide the knowledge you need to stay safe.  The speed of the alerts from this app is surprising, as it even beats the system built into my phone by a government mandate.  That’s pretty good in my opinion, and it’s something I look for in an app such as this.  The American Red Cross Tornado and Hurricane apps are both staying on my phone, so I can have the knowledge I need at my fingertips for the next pending disaster.

MSRP: Free on Google Play (All Red Cross apps are also available for iOS devices in the App Store)

What Like: Fast alerts

What Needs Improvement: Could use a radar map

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About the Author

Joel McLaughlin
Joel is a consultant in the IT field and is located in Columbus, OH. While he loves Linux and tends to use it more than anything else, he will stoop to running closed source if it is the best tool for the job. His techno passions are Linux, Android, netbooks, GPS, podcasting and Amateur Radio.