FEMA goes mobile with disaster info

M.Fema.gov designed for mobile callers

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has a new disaster information Web site designed for access by mobile cell phones.

The Web site, m.fema.gov, offers brief summaries of key information about hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, winter storms and other threats in the form of 16 questions, including “How can I find assistance?” and “What should I do in a disaster?”

“We recognize that when it comes to disasters, many individuals are going to try to get the information they need by using their mobile device -- so we’re rolling out this mobile version of our Web site so people can get the information they need when disaster strikes,” states a FEMA news release of April 25.

FEMA intends to expand the Web site in the coming months by making it possible to apply for individual federal disaster assistance directly from it, check the status of a disaster aid application, and update an existing application.

With the hurricane season starting June 1, FEMA also launched a hurricane assistance page on its mobile Web site, m.fema.gov/hurricanes.htm. It offers ideas for how to prepare for a hurricane, what to do to keep safe during a hurricane, and how to recover from a hurricane and seek assistance.

Although the Web site is intended to offer information via mobile phones, a comment listed on the site notes that during and after disasters, many cell phone networks are not functioning or, in rural and remote areas, don't exist.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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