This new disaster-preparedness app could save your life

Learn how best to prepare for an earthquake via this new app called Pocket Shelter.

The multilingual app is quite literally a life-saver, designed to give users the best chance of survival in the event of a disaster. Even just by looking at the app’s key features, you’re also learn a lot about the actions someone should take.

Pocket Shelter incorporates four main tools that could help ensure your safety and survival should something serious occur. Here they are, outlined to the best of my newfound knowledge.

1. Informative warnings that let you know the type of disaster
2. Automated messages are sent to friends and family to let them know you’re alright
3. Easy search helps you locate evacuation centers
4. The app also works offline

Earthquakes are pretty noticeable. The ground shaking is often a sign. However, it’s prudent to know whether or not the shaking is from a rave next door or Mother Nature having a kick around with continental plates.

Most electronics in Japan give off a signal or warning when an earthquake is detected, but actually knowing what kind of earthquake it is can make all the difference.

With Pocket Shelter, different levels of alarms and vibrations occur for different intensities.

The same goes for if it’s another type of threat, such as a tsunami or ballistic missile.

The app ensures that you know what’s going on by sound alone. Plus, whenever one happens it displays a whole host of information related to the event (like epicenter locations and real time Twitter updates) so that you know more about what’s happening and why.

Not only does the sound these warnings emit give you a heads up, but the type of sound that is used is scientifically proven to kick-start a biological reaction that makes you act quickly, so there’s no trying to hit snooze and rollover on a disaster warning.

So, Pocket Shelter comes in two different “Basic” versions (for iPhone and Android), as well as an additional “Plus” version. The free “Basic” version features the warnings and evacuation center search but does not come with the offline map or the automated safety confirmation messages. The Basic Premium version, for the price of ¥120 per month, does allow you to store and download offline maps, as well as set up the safety confirmation system. The “Plus” version, at ¥1,296 for one year, is designed for businesses and families; the app can be used across different devices, including PC.

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