Plerts Can Help During a Natural Disaster

Plerts (a mashup of “Personal Alerts”) is a free iOS app created by security programmers Tony Alagna and Colin Anawaty to help in any emergency situation. As soon as the Plerts app is launched, it captures images and audio every 8-10 seconds, transmitting the data and GPS “bread crumbs” to the Plerts secure servers.

In the case of an accident or an emergency situation such as a natural disaster, you can hit an SOS button and all the data gathered is sent to your emergency contact list including a feature-rich map of your location. The app also sends your contacts email and SMS messages with a feature-rich map of your GPS coordinates. Then the app places an automated conference call to them so everyone hears a recorded message that you have placed a distress call and can all be on the same page to assist you.

“With dialing 911, there is no GPS if you don’t get through — if your battery dies, so does your location,” explains Colin Anawaty, co-founder of the company. “Plerts will transmit your voice, any pictures and your GPS location. So even if the cell network crashes, when it comes back live, your location and any recordings will be sent out to your emergency contact list, including your GPS location.”

Plerts was launched (as “BuddyGuard”) just before the South by Southwest Interactive 2011 conference, where the app was set to debut. The day after launch, the earthquake hit Japan, followed by the tsunami. Through the company’s contacts, a number of journalists downloaded the app and used it to transmit data while in Japan and later in the Middle East, particularly at times where they thought they might be in danger. In areas where there was no cell signal, the application was used over satellite phone. Used solely as a precautionary measure during that time, members of the media were able to transmit information that could have been critical if they required help in an emergency situation.

All actions were test actions, confirms Anawaty, but the company now has proven their application works in places hit by natural and unplanned disasters, such as those that took place in Japan as well as in areas of unrest, including Iran and Libya. Stateside, Plerts has been tested with 911 emergency services in Travis County, Texas, proving the app could enhance critical data provided to law enforcement officers prior to arriving at the scene of a crime.

Android and BlackBerry versions of Plerts are coming soon.


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