One of the toughest decisions to make in an emergency is knowing when it’s time to evacuate. But a new computer program could make the decision a little easier.
A program called the Hurricane Evacuation Encouragement Demonstrator (HEED) has been developed by designers at Old Dominion University for Virginia’s Department of Emergency Management. Its purpose: to alert residents and tourists of southeastern Virginia to evacuate in the event of major storm.
Users can type in their home address and view an animated video of what they may experience if they don’t evacuate. If a person lives in an area where no major impact is expected, a video won’t be available. For those already on the road, they can use their phone’s GPS to find the best route.
It also provides:
- customized evacuation routes
- updated storm tracks, and
- information about emergency shelters and service stations along the evacuation route.
Right now, the program’s only available to Virginia residents. But it’s only a matter of time before other hurricane-prone areas develop similar alert programs to spread the word about emergencies.