Natural disasters are often sudden, leaving precious little time to coordinate with loved ones. During and after the event, getting help and locating friends and family can be difficult. Earlier today, Microsoft unveiled HelpBridge, an app designed to make it easy to quickly send messages during and after a distaster to a library of pre-selected individuals.
HelpBridge has a simple, common-sense main screen with two large red tiles, one reading "I need help," and the other reading, "I'm OK." Users will tap the appropriate tile and be taken to the next screen, where their location will be automatically displayed on a map with an option to share the location. A short message can be entered if desired, then sent off to the user's list of contacts.
In addition to the messaging capabilities, HelpBridge also streamlines donating funds and goods after an emergency, as well as locating a place to volunteer. Money can be donated to the Red Cross, Global Giving, etc., while goods can be donated to a list provided by the app. Likewise, HelpBridge connects users to a real-time list of agencies and locations in need of volunteers.
The Red Cross's Chief Development Officer Neal Litvack offered this statement. "We are grateful to our partner Microsoft who understands the importance of connecting loved ones after disasters and provides ways for individuals to donate their time and dollars to help those in need through the Red Cross." The app has been released for the three big mobile operating systems: iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. For now, HelpBridge is only available to customers in the United States.