The DPH Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management (OPEM) is pleased to announce the release of Show Me for Emergencies, an innovative, interactive mobile app that will enhance communication between public health and emergency management personnel and individuals with communication challenges across a variety of emergency settings.
In 2011, OPEM began work on a project to enhance communication between individuals with communication challenges and staff within an emergency shelter setting to help make their needs and concerns understood. The result of this project, Show Me: A Communication Tool for Emergency Shelters, was a simple, hands-on, paper-based tool that reduces communication barriers and better assists individuals with access and functional needs in a shelter during an emergency.
Knowing how vital effective communication is during all types of disasters, the Office embarked on a mission to build upon the foundation of the Show Me booklet and expand it to include multiple settings and scenarios. Paper-based tools are fantastic resources and can be quite handy in some situations but they do have certain limitations with regard to size, portability, durability, and printing and distribution costs. Our challenge was to create a more robust tool that is cost effective and can be used by countless numbers of people across a variety of disciplines and within a host of settings. The solution was apparent: mobile technology.
Show Me for Emergencies is a free, downloadable mobile app available in both the iTunes and Google Play stores. One of the essential features of the app is that once it’s downloaded to a user’s device, the app does not need internet connectivity in order to access its content. The four scenarios include: emergency shelters; emergency dispensing sites (places where individuals would go during certain types of emergencies to obtain medications or vaccinations); shelter in place; and evacuation. Within each scenario there are options to communicate information such as an individual’s preferred language, the type of emergency that’s happening, personal and medical needs, animated instructions for actions like boiling water or gathering items, along with a multitude of other concepts. The intended target audience for the app is public health personnel, first responders, and Medical Reserve Corps and other volunteers, but we encourage folks from all disciplines to check the app out to see if you might be able to make use of it in your daily operations. To read more about Show Me, please visit: www.mass.gov/dph/showme. You can download the app from the iTunes store at: https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/show-me-for-emergencies/id840012297?mt=8, and from the Google Play store at: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.ma.dph.showme.
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