GREENSBORO, NC -- Anytime there's a major emergency: The Boston Marathon bombing, an evacuation and aftermath of a tornado or hurricane, the ice storm that stranded people on the highway, there is one thing people want to know desperately, are my loved ones OK? Often times getting that answer can take days.
The Red Cross has devised a system that can help cut the confusion. Spokesperson Leigh Brock walked us through the SafeAndWell website and the I'm Safe feature found on many of the Red Cross' weather apps.
"Preparedness is the key. You never know when or where disaster will strike. Plus, we're coming up on severe weather season. Straight line winds can do major damage even if there are no tornadoes or tornado warnings."
With the SafeAndWell website you can register yourself after an emergency or you can look up a loved one after an emergency. You will need the person's name and home address or cell phone number.
If you have access to the website during an emergency you can take care of it yourself. If not, chances are Red Cross volunteers will be where the emergency has happened and can help you register or find loved ones through the site.
The "I'm Safe" feature on most of the Red Cross apps (tornado, flood, hurricane) allows you to send a text or facebook message to alert family members or friends you're ok. When you get the app you'll see the "I'm Safe" feature on the upper right of the screen.
"This is important because sometimes the cell towers are jammed, but the wi-fi can work or the text will work."
This could come in handy even when you're on vacation and something major happens you can quickly tell family or friends you're okay. The app is free.