Our Islands, Our Future

Preparedness counts when a natural disaster happens. So does getting fast, reliable information on which the public as well as emergency responders can act. The Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) is stepping up to support both.

With communications technology boosting the process, PDC is moving to speed information on threats and hazards to the public, introducing in July 2010 a Disaster Alert application for the iPhone and iPad.

“Disaster Alert puts the latest reliable hazard and disaster information in the hands of the public anywhere in the world,” said PDC Executive Director Ray Shirkhodai.

The apps are the first developed for smart phone based platforms, but PDC will seek development of apps for other mobile systems. The iPhone app is available free in the Apple iTunes store.

PDC, located in Kihei, has long been an information resource on natural hazards through its Disaster Alert and Hazards Atlas – an interactive map displaying data on events around the globe and updated 24/7 through a Disaster AWARE decision support system. A Disaster Alert system was already in operation through Facebook and Twitter connections, sending email messages and Tweets to subscribers directing them latest information on the Atlas. With the iPhone/iPad application, subscribers can review the data on their mobile communications platforms immediately.

The agency is well established as an information management agency in helping states and communities plan for threats of natural events — tropical cyclones, earthquakes, volcanic explosions – as well as hazards caused by man such as wildfires and chemical spills.