This is the first in a two-part series about a mobile application designed to improve readiness among the public during natural disasters and emergency situations in North Carolina. In today’s feature, FirstNet profiles the development and use of the ReadyNC app by the public and public safety community in North Carolina. In part two, FirstNet will highlight the state’s efforts to increase awareness about the app.
By Kyle Richardson, Public Affairs Specialist
Many States and territories are looking to use new technologies and applications to share information with the public during disaster situations. North Carolina is one of those states. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NC DPS) launched a new application called ReadyNC at an opportune time: just days before a major winter storm that shut down schools and businesses across the state for several days this past January.
The ReadyNC app provides users with real-time data about road conditions, flood levels, power outages, evacuation areas, and the closest shelters. It was developed by members of the North Carolina Emergency Management (NCEM) team, which was looking to consolidate the most critical information and data that people could use during emergencies.
ReadyNC includes real-time data from existing resources, such as NC DPS agencies, along with weather, traffic, shelter operations, county evacuations and river/stream flooding information. Although this information existed before the app was created, DPS says it was housed in different platforms and some of it was not publicly accessible. NCEM partnered with the Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to gather the real-time data into an all-in-one, user-friendly tool.
“The goal is to have all the essential information at your fingertips – an all-in-one readiness tool,” said Julia Jarema, who is the Communications Officer for the NC DPS. “This allows residents and visitors to know how to be safe before, during and after various types of emergencies from avoiding traffic jams to preparing for tornadoes, hurricanes or ice storms.”
NC DPS says more people download and use the app when there are severe weather threats, enabling them to scroll the app prior to the storm arriving. NC DPS says the application helped people plan their routes throughout the state during snowy and icy driving conditions this past winter, including the January storm that followed the app’s release.
“The ReadyNC app has been positively received – especially when storms are predicted or imminent –because it provides easy-to-find information on how to get prepared and what to do to be safe during and after the storm,” Julia tells FirstNet. “It gives people the ability to prepare themselves so that when a disaster occurs, first responders can get to those that need critical assistance.”