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App for natural disasters tops the download charts

Published: 3:53PM Thursday September 20, 2012 Source: ONE News

Auckland Civil Defence's new mobile phone apps have jumped straight to the top of the download charts.

The apps, which were launched yesterday, let Aucklanders get advance notification of impending disasters such as tsunamis and cyclones as well as official advisories after major catastrophes.

Auckland Civil Defence, a division of Auckland Council, launched the new public alert system for the entire region to better prepare for natural disasters.

The iPhone app became the top free app on iTunes within hours of its launch and had more than 3000 downloads within the first 24 hours. Downloaders have accorded it a five-star rating on the iTunes store. The version for Android phones has also been popular.

Those who have downloaded it have sent more than 2200 invitations to connect with friends and family.

Auckland Councillor Michael Goudie, Chair of the Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency Management Committee, says he is thrilled that there has been such a quick uptake as the personalised and immediate alerts to smartphones will complement other information available on media such as radio and television during an emergency.

"People are recognising that they can have firsthand information, which they can use how and when they want. We're hoping people will keep downloading it and sharing it with their friends and family," he said.

Auckland Civil Defence Controller Clive Manley said: "We're delighted Aucklanders have embraced the app so quickly. It shows they are absolutely committed to preparing for a potential emergency, ensuring that they're able to stay up-to-date with information and alerts as well as stay in touch with their loved ones."

"The launch of the app is next week, and all New Zealanders are being asked to take part in New Zealand ShakeOut - the first time such a drill has been held throughout an entire country," he said.

At 9.26am, next Wednesday 26 September, more than one million people will participate in the drill, during which everyone will practise "Drop, Cover and Hold" - the right action to take in an earthquake.