OMAHA (KPTM) – As severe weather season rapidly approaches, the American Red Cross decided to help families prepare for safety in the case a tornado strikes. Officials launched a free tornado app they hope can help save lives.
On April 16th, 2012 a tornado changed the lives of one family in Thurman, Iowa when it destroyed everything in its path.
"The first thing I heard my grandson went and looked and he'd come back and told me my house was gone," Sandra Umphreys said.
By this time last year a tornado had already torn through home sin Nebraska—leaving dozens of families unprepared for the worst.
Monday, the American Red Cross launched an official tornado app—available, in English or Spanish, for iPhones, iPads, Androids and tablets.
The purpose of the app is to help people prepare for disasters before they strike.
"It's a lot of versatility, telling you information what to do before hand, during an event and then afterwards," said Brian Smith of the National Weather Service.
With a touch of a button, people can send a message to their family and friends that they are safe. The app will also give steps on what to do after the storm passes. Some of those steps include where to go for shelter and how to create an emergency plan for the household.
"Instead of me just sitting there and falling asleep in my chair," Umphreys continued. "I would have known that there was something coming because I would have had that to fall back on."
With severe weather approaching, people like Umphreys will have life-saving answers right at their fingertips.
The Douglas County Emergency Management Agency will start conducting siren test Wednesday at 11 a.m. and every Wednesday following through October.
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