When disaster strikes, Microsoft’s HelpBridge app is ready

When Hurricane Sandy mowed over the East Coast last year and the first devastating images appeared, two thoughts crossed my mind: Are the people I know there OK? and How can I help?  I know I wasn’t alone.

Now there’s an innovative new app from Microsoft called HelpBridge that makes it easier to address both of these concerns. Download it now.

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The app, which is free and available only in the U.S., lets you assemble a list of friends and family members who you’d want to notify in an emergency or natural disaster. On your command, HelpBridge will then quickly blast out email or text alerts (or post an emergency message on your Facebook wall) to let people know you’re safe or require aid. Alerts can also optionally provide your precise location via your phone’s GPS signal.

Just as importantly, the app also provides ways to support relief and recovery efforts. You can use it to donate money and supplies to organizations including the American Red Cross, CARE, and Global Giving. HelpBridge also shows you real-time volunteering opportunities posted by relief agencies.

Dive deeper on the Microsoft Corporate Citizenship blog and HelpBridge site. And don’t miss Ben Rudolph’s interview and hands-on tour below.