Microsoft today announced the release of their HelpBridge app that lets you stay connected with your family and friends when disasters strike. The app which is available for iOS, Android and windows Phone lets you create a list of contacts and sets protocols in communicating with them when disaster strikes. You will be able to send a message via SMS, email or Facebook Timeline stating that you are alright or in need of help.
Two messages can be sent which are “I need help” and “I’m okay” which you can further customize with your own text. The app is based on the Windows Azure platform and uses your device’s GPS to pinpoint your location which is useful when you are in a tight spot and in need of help.
Gisli Olaffson, emergency response director at NetHope said in a Microsoft blog that “Mobile phones have become one of the key tools for people in disaster affected areas to communicate, not only with their friends, but also with first responders. The simpler we can make it for people to let others know if they are fine or if they need assistance, the more likely they are of being able to get that information out.”
This is a very useful app to have in cases of disaster. We all know that the first people we contact when disaster strikes are our close friends and family. The app makes this easy to accomplish by just a touch of a button.
While there may be other apps similar in nature to HelpBridge none of them so far has a feature that lets you volunteer or donate.
This isn’t the first emergency app of Microsoft as a few years ago the company also released the Vine net emergency broadcast system.
The app is available for free however is limited for U.S. based users as of now. We are hoping that Microsoft will bring this to a larger audience by making it available worldwide.