WASHINGTON – The free Ready Virginia mobile application that helps people prepare for emergencies and stay informed during disasters was demonstrated to President Barack Obama May 30 in preparation for hurricane season, which started yesterday and extends through Nov. 30. The president’s annual briefing was held at FEMA headquarters and included three presentations on innovative apps that reach people with critical emergency information. Virginia was the only state invited to present.
“I am proud of the work the Virginia Department of Emergency Management has done on this innovative app that will help Virginians stay informed and prepared in the event of a hurricane or other disaster,” said Governor McAuliffe.
“We were very proud to showcase the Ready Virginia app,” said Brian Moran, Virginia secretary of public safety and homeland security. “We know it’s important to meet people where they are, particularly during emergencies, and many of them are on mobile devices.”
“The invitation to present during this high-level, pre-hurricane season briefing was very timely,” said State Coordinator of Emergency Management Jeff Stern, who described the app’s features to President Obama following an introduction by Secretary Moran. “In fact, that day we had added push notifications to the app that allow users to receive instant weather warning alerts for their area from the National Weather Service. This is a critical safety feature to have, especially when you’re not tuned in to local radio or television.”
The Ready Virginia app for iPhone® and Android™ devices was developed by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) as an interactive tool that makes it easier to be prepared for emergencies. Users can make a customized emergency plan, identify and collect needed emergency supplies, and get the latest disaster news when there are widespread or high profile disaster events in the commonwealth.
Among the app’s features are:
Alerts: real-time weather and hazard alerts for your location
Plan: make your emergency plan and share it with family and friends
Local: GPS-enabled evacuation routes, flood risk updates, emergency manager contacts
Checklist: essential emergency supplies to have in your kit
Threats: learn what to do to prepare for the most likely disaster events in Virginia
Disaster news: stay informed on current emergency events or browse through previous disaster blogs
When Hurricane Sandy impacted the commonwealth in 2012, 40% more people used mobile browsers to access VDEM’s website than during Hurricane Irene the previous year.
The hurricane preparation briefing was moderated by Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism. NOAA Administrator Kathy Sullivan briefed the president on hurricane season. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson discussed progress on the federal government’s efforts to prepare for and capacity to respond to severe storms.
Read President Obama’s pre-hurricane briefing remarks: www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/30/readout-president-s-briefing-ahead-2014-hurricane-season
Learn more about the Ready Virginia app: http://www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/additional-resources/mobileapp
App users will now receive instant notification of weather hazards