Mobile technology for preparedness

Since 2013, the GDPC Universal App Program has worked with Red Cross and Red Crescent (RC/RC) national societies to develop localized first aid apps that contain easy to understand information about how to identify and respond to a range of common first aid scenarios, empowering users to provide life saving help. To date, the GDPC has helped develop more than 80 First Aid apps.

The Universal App Program is an initiative sponsored by the Global Disaster Preparedness Center and is focused on providing access to high quality, lifesaving mobile applications or ‘apps’ to Red Cross and Red Crescent societies for release in their home markets to benefit the general public. The idea is rooted in that both the American Red Cross and British Red Cross have released a free First Aid App that offers simple, easy-to-follow advice for a variety of everyday first aid scenarios.

Recognizing the opportunity to take the concept to scale, the Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC) launched the Universal First Aid App Program in May 2013, introducing a phased approach for rapid expansion of the First Aid App into new markets within the Red Cross Red Crescent network.

Created in collaboration with the Red Cross Global First Aid Reference Center, First Aid app content is based on the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) First Aid Guidelines. To ensure that the content is appropriate and relevant to each local context, RC/RC national societies drive the development of the apps, managing translation, video production, content editing, and marketing.

The Universal App Program includes an easy to use Content Management System (CMS) for developing app content and a streamlined agreement model that reduces the time consuming, and costly negotiation common for many inter society agreements. Participation in the program is free to national societies and download of the app is free of charge on iOS and Android.


Benefits of the Universal App Program

  • Potential to reach large numbers of users with high quality, easy-to-use, multilingual apps available on iOS and Android platforms.
  • National societies have complete ownership of app content and can use app donation links to mobilize donations.
  • No cost to national societies for app development, release or support.

First Aid App features

  • Tests, quizzes, and badges that users can share on social media.
  • Tips, information, and step by step instructions including videos and illustrations on how to respond.
  • Capability to receive alerts via push notification and to contact local emergency services by phone


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