International natural disaster expert, Professor Ed Blakely, known as the "Global Recovery Tsar", said today that Earthquake Buddy, the new Australian-developed iPhone app, will save thousands of lives in the world's earthquake zones.
Blakely, the expert who led the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort, has independently thrown his weight behind Earthquake Buddy saying, "The Earthquake Buddy app's ingenuity coupled with the harnessing of community engagement makes it a revolutionary and vital new tool to find those missing or trapped after an earthquake."
Over the years, especially in second and third world countries, emergency services are delayed simply because they do not know the whereabouts of people trapped due to an earthquake. Often due to poor building standards, whole towns and cities can be razed, with thousands of people missing and feared dead.
CEO of Earthquake Buddy's developer The App Collective, Adam Wells said, "We were astonished to learn that most rescue services often don't know where to begin their search when trying to find missing victims of large earthquakes. Earthquake Buddy is designed to solve this fundamental problem by ensuring community engagement can act swiftly to find them."
Once Earthquake Buddy is downloaded, users are prompted to enter their details and details of four friends or family members to become their 'buddies'. In the event of an earthquake above 5.5 on the Richter scale, the user's buddies are instantaneously and automatically sent an email, from the cloud, showing a Google map of their location. After 30 minutes, if the user has not heard from his buddies, they can go straight to the Google map location (if safe to do so); or contact emergency services to alert them of their buddies' location.
Wells added: "Importantly, the message is designed so it will be received prior to any telecommunications outage and thus does not rely on the iPhone itself to be sent. Buddies can also receive an SMS, a Facebook post and Tweet with the same details."
The new app is designed not only for people living in earthquake zones, but also for tourists and business travellers nervous about travelling to quake prone destinations like New Zealand, Japan, West Coast USA and Asia.
Adam Wells concluded, "We are very proud that Earthquake Buddy has been endorsed by Professor Blakely. As a result we have introduced Earthquake Buddy at ground and App Store level and through world organisations who can implement their duty of care by ensuring all smartphone users can carry this app."
Earthquake Buddy is in English, with Spanish and Japanese versions launching soon and an Android version is due in the near future.
Earthquake Buddy 1.0 is $3.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Utilities category.