Red Cross App Aims to Make Emergencies Easier


We all know that the Red Cross is who we go to if we have a military life emergency and need contact our spouses in a hurry. And now there's a Red Cross app for that.

The Red Cross emergency message system is the official communication program for military families to get word to their service members about an emergency. Through it the Red Cross certifies that there is actually an emergency event, such as severe illness, death in the family or birth of a child, and passes the news on to the troop's chain of command. From there commanders can decide whether or not to release that service member on emergency leave, or give them a way to call home. I used the system  when my son was born while my husband was in an Army school without any communication to home. One phone call to the Red Cross emergency line, and my husband was handed a cell phone within 30 minutes by his instructor and ordered to call home. Boom.

The new Red Cross app provides a handy, easy access portal for the non-profit's Emergency Communication system. With a tap you can connect to the organization's website to submit a request online, or connect to their 800 number to take care of it over the phone.

Here's where things get pretty neat. The Hero Care app has the ability for you to enter your service member's info that would be requested during an emergency call -- name, rank, unit, date of birth, etc. It places the info behind a password protected wall. Then, if you tap the "call" option, it asks for the password. You can then start the call from the app, and still have all of that information displayed for you to use when the call center requests it.

I liked this feature in particular because I know that if I'm making an emergency call, I'm probably going to be doing it while under a lot of stress. That's not the time to have to dig up information on my spouse, like the address of his unit. Giving me a secure place to save it ahead of time so I can easily access it during an emergency just makes sense.

The Red Cross app also gives you a way to easily and quickly connect with Red Cross partner resources through your service's emergency relief organization, as well as other programs through non-profits like Goodwill and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). They also have connections to top government resources, like Military One Source, and other Red Cross resources, like their local workshops. 

You can download the app by searching for it in app stores, by texting  ‘GETHEROCARE’ to 90999 or by clicking here on your mobile device.

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