A new emergency preparedness app is set to pilot on Vancouver Island starting in November.
The app, called the Canadian Hazards Emergency Response and Preparedness app (CHERP), will be piloted in seven communities on the island and is the creation of Dr. Ryan Reynolds (not to be confused with the fun-loving movie star), a postdoctoral researcher in UBC’s faculty of applied science.
According to UBC, the app is designed to create community profiles to provide residents with information about local hazards and planning resources to simplify processes in case of an emergency.
It will also be able to tell if the user’s home is in a tsunami zone based on its location.
Reynolds says he got the idea while talking to residents of Port Alberni after a tsunami warning and evacuation in 2018 and that simplifying the process is key.
“I know from speaking with people post-disaster that anything we can do to reduce that confusion goes a long way to building trust in emergency responses,” said Reynolds.
The app will feature a list of inputs to help create plans for households including if someone has anxiety, accessibility issues, is a refugee or is on a temporary visa.
Reynolds feels preparing for emergencies will be more necessary in the future as the planet changes.
“You do a little bit of work now and hopefully reap the benefits down the road,” said Reynolds. “We know things like sea-level rise, coastal flooding, tsunamis, are going to happen and we can put steps in place to prepare.”