CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County residents can now access emergency contact numbers and other disaster-related information on their iPhones.
The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department's disaster preparedness application for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch is now available free in the iTunes store. The Android version of the app is in the works and should be available within days, said Dr. Rahul Gupta, executive director of the health department.
The app contains county evacuation routes, guidelines for food and water safety, and recommendations for flood cleanup. It also has contact numbers for city, county and emergency officials and information for those interested in volunteering during emergencies.
"It's a one-stop shop for all things emergency preparedness," Gupta said. "The idea is that if you're prepared, you're more [able] to survive an emergency, whether it's nature or manmade."
With the app, residents can access the information even if cell towers are down and electricity is out, as long as their batteries have a charge.
Gupta said he isn't aware of many other health departments that have developed their own emergency preparedness apps.
"It's just one of a kind as far as we know," Gupta said.
Terradon Communications Group built the app with a $30,000 grant the health department received from the National Library of Medicine.
This won't be the health department's only app, Gupta said. This summer, the department plans to launch a food safety app with restaurant inspections and ratings, menus and calorie information as well as lists of local parks and recreation areas to burn those calories, Gupta said.