Earthquake spurs disaster app

SIOBHAN DOWNES
Last updated 09:56 22/08/2013
first aid app

First aid help: From left, Rob Ramsay, Manu Vallyon, Vincent Wong, Cameron Prebble, Katie Catchpole, Nancy Nichols-Acevedo, Isabella Gawith and Scott Milat have created mobile app for emergencies.

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The Wellingtonian

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A team of budding entrepreneurs has created an emergency mobile app inspired by last Friday's big earthquake.

First Aid Army was one of 15 teams taking part in the Wellington Startup Weekend competition, held at Massey University last weekend. Participants had to pitch business ideas and take them to a prototype stage in 54 hours.

The team came up with the idea of developing a mobile app connecting disaster victims with first-aiders after experiencing the magnitude 6.6 earthquake on the first day of the competition.

"The earthquake had just happened. We were thinking, 'What can we do about it?' and came up with this really cool idea," team member Isabella Gawith said.

Using the app, disaster victims can press a "help" button, which sends their location on a map to pre- registered first-aid certificate holders in the vicinity.

The first-aiders respond if they are available, and a message is sent to the victim saying help is on the way.

Team member Nancy Nichols- Acevedo said the goal of the project was to take pressure off emergency services in a disaster.

"The earthquake made it much more relevant," she said.

"The Wellington Regional Emergency Management office uses Facebook and Twitter to send out information, but we're not aware of something that geo-locates people in need," she said.

The team hoped to keep developing the app.

Startup Weekends are held around the country. The Wellington competition is in its third year.

Organiser Nick Churchouse said the earthquake caused a temporary change of venue on Friday night, while Massey University underwent assessment, but was back in business for the rest of the weekend.

The winner was Team Stampede, and the runner-up was Team Good Good Wonderful.

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- The Wellingtonian

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