September 2013

I have always had an interest in the weather. I think it is a genetic thing.

Everyone in our extended family (paternal Grandmother, cousins, aunts and uncles) have always had an interest in the weather. But after I became a reservist at the Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Affairs office, I developed an even greater interest in how can we prevent the damage, devastation and fatalities of disaster.

Since my time as the national public affairs director of FEMA’s Project Impact –Building Disaster Resistant Communities, I have focused on how can we better educate the public about what they should do in times of a disaster, and what they can do as new technology are developed to reduce the risk of being victim to disaster.

So much is being done by some of the organizations we have listed in the RESOURCE section of this website, but I have always had an interest in helping people learn from their past experience with disasters and make their interaction with a disaster less impactful next time.

I know that so many people were shell shocked by the two back to back tornadoes in Oklahoma. That is what made my cousin Tammy and I decide to develop a tornado safety app, one that could help give people the peace of mind that someone “out there” knows where they have taken cover and if they are not heard from, to send someone looking for them.

It is a thrill and treat to be able to working with my first cousin Tammy on this effort. We brainstormed in the early 2000’s about developing a disaster app, but I think we were ahead of our time because there wasn’t a spark on what the need would be, but on May 20, 2013 it was evident.

There are many disaster preparedness smartphone apps that help people receive pre-tornado information but there is nothing to help people who are in the path of a tornado. Thus, the Find Me – Tornado Safety app was born. I called Tammy the day following the tornado and told her I had come up with the idea. There were reports that some people didn’t take cover, or didn’t take cover fast enough because they were afraid nobody would know where to look for them. With Find Me – Tornado Safety app people who are in harm’s way now have peace of mind that someone knows where to find them AND people who are on their contact list or follow them on Facebook and Twitter know where they have taken cover, or if they are in need of assistance.

The Find Me – Tornado Safety app can be overlayed onto Google maps and …. So that the recipient of the Alert can see if the GPS location of the subscriber was in the path of the tornado; whether the power was out in that area and if help should be sent to the subscriber.

Tammy and I are developing additional products that will also help people have a system to alert their friends and families during hurricanes, power outages; snow storms and other disasters. It bring us such pride that were are able to contribute something during times that are horrific for individuals who become victim to mother nature.