At the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA/HS), we have been hard at work on an improved version of the Ready Georgia mobile app for several months, and we are glad to announce that it is now available on iTunes and Google Play. The app, which originally launched in 2011, has been very successful at helping Georgia residents get prepared for emergencies, so much so that it has become a model for dozens of other states.
For the latest version of the app, our goal was to not only help users prepare before emergencies, but to give them better resources during emergencies as well. With that in mind, we made several significant improvements:
Before Emergencies: Improved Alerts
The Ready Georgia app’s primary goal is to help Georgians get prepared before disasters strike, and it does this by providing features like a customizable emergency plan and supplies checklist, information about how to prepare for different types of disasters, and weather alerts.
In the latest version of the app, the alerts have received a significant upgrade. Geo-targeted severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service will now automatically notify your phone if there is a watch or a warning in your area. In addition, GEMA and the Department of Public Health now have the ability to send custom messages to individual counties if there is important information that needs to be delivered. This feature will only be used to communicate essential information, but it’s a useful tool to stay informed.
During Emergencies: Real-time Traffic & Shelter Information
With the focus of the Ready Georgia app expanding to become a resource during emergencies, one of the key new features is the real-time traffic information. The app now has a live traffic map with icons of traffic incident locations, as well as a list of recent traffic incidents and relevant news and updates, such as current construction. These features will help Georgians stay more informed about current road conditions and how to avoid gridlocked areas.
Another feature that has been improved is the Open Shelters map, which displays the locations of nearby shelters and provides directions on how to find them. Previously, this map only displayed the locations of Red Cross shelters, but GEMA now has the ability to add other types of shelters to the map, such as approved “good Samaritan” locations that may open on an impromptu basis. This will enable users to find a safe place to go during and after emergencies.
The new Ready Georgia app is a valuable tool, and we encourage everyone with an iPhone or Android smartphone to download it. Remember, there is no all-in-one solution to staying safe. It’s important to stay weather-aware and keep up with what’s going on in your area. It’s also crucial to get ready in advance by making a plan and creating a Ready kit with crucial supplies.
As we head into hurricane season, we hope you take some time to get prepared so you can enjoy a safe summer.