Regret comes after the disaster, as they always say. Scientists and advocates are vocal about disaster preparedness, especially if the area of your home is prone to calamities. It is better to take preemptive measures before the disaster happened to avoid regrets later on.
The call for disaster preparedness already entered the realm of technology as a mobile application was developed adhering to this call. Harbor aims to help individuals be prepared in times of disaster. It believes that preparedness should start at home.
The application tries to assess your area’s vulnerability and provides the necessary information to be prepared and be resilient. Check out below what other information you can get from the app and how you can download the app on your phone.
- Advocacy Of Harbor
- Knowing The Risks Using The Harbor App
- Gamifying Disaster Preparedness On Harbor App
- Preparing For Disasters Using The Harbor App
Advocacy Of Harbor
With several disasters occurring from time to time, I find it alarming that so many calamities can happen in a year. At first, I was reluctant about disaster preparedness because I thought I would not experience it sooner or later.
Not until I came across this mobile application that advocates for disaster preparedness. It was relatively new as the Harbor app was only released in October 2020. It piqued my interest in how there is a mobile app whose contents are solely there to help people to be prepared in times of disaster.
The team envisions families that are disaster-prepared and resilient, so they developed programs and technologies to achieve this goal. They focused on big disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, flooding, fire, and others. But, they also added minor life emergencies at home.
Harbor CEO Dan Kessler mentioned in a talk that he was inspired to create this app when he experienced an earthquake in Mexico. Since the team believes that disaster preparedness should start at home, they launched the mobile app to inform its users with necessary details on disasters, preparation for these disasters, home emergencies, and even their vulnerability.
Harbor Mobile App
Since the app was only launched in 2020, the Harbor app is currently available for iOS users, making it free to download on the iOS App Store. However, the company stated they are now expanding the app to Android users, but it is still in the works.
The app follows the “freemium” model, which means that users can create an account for free and avail most of the features and services of the app. There are in-app purchases in case the users want to upgrade the services they get from Harbor.
After downloading the app, the Harbor app will prompt its users to sign in or sign up using their email addresses. It is essential to create an account in the app because it saves the progress of your disaster preparedness. The contents are also personalized depending on your personal information such as location, house, materials at home, and many more.
Knowing The Risks Using The Harbor App
In buying a house, I can take so much time thinking and weighing the pros and cons. But, there is one thing that I missed out on, and it is identifying first the vulnerability and risks of the location of the house. Vulnerability is defined as the inability to respond in a disaster, and it usually includes the prone and dangers of the general area of the house.
Luckily, the Harbor app starts with identifying the vulnerability in my location. They do that by asking for my zip code. Yes, through the zip code, the app can identify the usual hazards or disasters that occur in the place based on their database. After entering the zip code, the app will list all dangers in the area.
The information about these hazards came from public reports of the local government and the national government agencies. There might be cases that list possible disasters in the area that is not complete, so the app asks the users to provide this information not included in the list.
The app tries to personalize the content that the users must know depending on their vulnerability. Why? It is the simple logic of “prevention is better than cure.” Knowing what might happen can help the users plan to avoid significant losses when the disasters occur and minimize the effect.
Information Provided By Harbor App
The Harbor app provides essential information about different emergencies caused by different disasters. I learn so much about these emergencies with the clear, concise, and easy-to-understand explanations on the app.
There is a tab where one can read the vulnerability or risks in the area based on the zip cope and provided additional risks. It is essential to know first about the hazards that can affect you and your home; that is why the app emphasizes that the users must learn about causes, effects, how to respond, and how to plan according to a specific emergency.
However, there is also a tab with the complete list of emergencies that I read whenever I have time because learning is a good thing and can help me in the future. The list of emergencies includes earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanoes, winter storms, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, and many more.
Gamifying Disaster Preparedness On Harbor App
The team does not want the Harbor app to be perceived as a serious and boring informational application that only focuses on making the users learn about disaster preparedness. They attracted users with their fun and calm approach to disaster preparedness, which worked in my case.
Personally, I find it difficult to focus and absorb information that is too straightforward or direct. Since the company wanted the Harbor app to be used by adults only, they added a fun side to the application. They tried to gamify the content of the app to suit the preferences of its target users.
First, they provided fun quizzes about essential stuff and supplies in the house, like how many gallons of water a household should store or reserve if the supply stops during a disaster. It makes the users engage in these quizzes to test their knowledge and equip and improve what they already know.
The general contents of the app are enjoyable for any member of the family since one of the company’s goals is to involve everyone in the household in preparing for a disaster.
Sharing The Harbor App Among Family Members
One of the application’s key features is that multiple accounts can be connected by adding household members. I find this critical because it allows every member to access information about the risks and how to prepare for these risks.
Since a family lives in one house, they have the same risks and vulnerabilities; that is why they also have the same way to prepare for disasters. It is possible that only one member can set up an account with a complete profile and information about the location and risks and share it with other members.
Besides the information, the app can also connect the parents, children, or even caregivers before, during, and after disasters. How? Anyone can access the specific disaster preparedness plan to know what they should do during these times, like their rendezvous point or safe areas within the house.
Preparing For Disasters Using The Harbor App
As mentioned, the app that there is gamification in the content, the most important feature of the Harbor app, is the step-by-step process of preparing for disasters properly. There are mini-games to complete while you are preparing yourself and your household for possible disasters.
According to Harbor CEO Kassler, they split the contents into bite-sized information because they believe that users can easily understand what the app wants them to do. Also, they want to highlight the importance of calmness during disasters by being calm in preparing the necessary supplies.
I find this helpful because I can easily follow the things that I need to prepare and the calm vibe of the application exudes because I have this thinking that I can prepare for any disasters properly if I am calm and can think clearly.
The application has a checklist of what I need to do to be disaster prepared, such as buying supplies, securing documents, repairing house parts, and crafting an emergency plan. Lastly, the Harbor app monitors my progress in my profile, wherein I can check what I have secured and what things I still need to do.
E-commerce Shops On Harbor App
The app provides convenience to the users as it offers a list of their partner e-commerce shops. The users can easily buy the best home safety and readiness products. This saves time for the users since they do not need to look for physical shops or online stores that offer the recommended safety products.
Harbor ensures that the quality of the products of their exclusive partner stores is top-notch in the market so that the users can trust them. Everything about disaster preparedness is indeed complete in the Harbor App.
The effects of disasters can be avoided if not at least minimized, and that is why many organizations call for disaster preparedness of every household. The Harbor mobile app is a product made by a company that advocates for the said cause. The app aims to identify household risks and provide information to be prepared for these risks.
The information in Harbor app is not straightforward as they tried to make it a little fun and engaging through gamification of the content. Family members can share and link their accounts to be fully informed, and they can eventually craft a disaster or emergency plan with the help of the Harbor app.