HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As Tropical Storm Isaac continues to dump rain in the gulf region, the Red Cross is promoting a new way to keep track of family and friends there. It recently released a new hurricane app. With one touch on a smart phone, loved ones in a danger zone can alert you to their whereabouts.
It's déjà vu on this seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina – with crews, once again, rescuing stranded Louisiana residents. "They took us out of the attic into the boats. It's very bad down there. Very bad," resident Sharon Sylvia said after being rescued from the floodwaters.
In Hawaii and across the country, folks with loved ones in that region are monitoring Isaac's every move. "That feeling of helplessness - waiting, wanting to get information," says one woman.
But since Katrina, access to information - and the means to get it - have advanced. Just this month, the Red Cross introduced that hurricane app for I-phones and Androids.
"It's just a way to be knowledgeable about what's happening in your own area, but also, to share vital information to your family and friends who might be searching for you," explains Red Cross Hawaii chapter CEO, Coralie Matayoshi.
The app provides instant access to local, real time information. Among other things, it gives weather alerts from the danger zone, locations of open Red Cross shelters, a flashlight, strobe light, and audible alarm, and preloaded information on what to do in an emergency - even if you don't have mobile connectivity.
It also provides a one-touch message alert that tells family and friends, via social media, that you're okay. "You can go through the app and be able to press a button and say, 'I'm safe'. And then, if you have a Twitter or Facebook account, it automatically notifies those people who are in your circle of friends or family, so that you don't have to be dialing their numbers," says Matayoshi.
It's a way to keep in touch - even if you're thousands of miles away. You can download it for free in the Apple app store for I-phones and the Google Play store for Androids. Just search for American Red Cross.