New app helps residents prepare for emergencies in Williamson County

The free WILCO Ready app helps people in Williamson County prepare before a disaster hits home. (KXAN Photo/Lauren Kravets)

GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — It’s easy to get caught in the chaos of a flood, tornado, or hurricane, so having a plan of what to do when a disaster hits, could help you or your family.

“You look at the hurricane that just occurred and people were without things to sustain themselves for days,” explains Jarred Thomas, Williamson County emergency management director.

The Williamson County Office of Emergency Management has launched a free mobile app called WILCO Ready, to help residents create plans for emergencies. Once you download the app, you’ll receive alerts if there’s an emergency in Williamson County.

But county officials really want you to use the app to start planning now. The application lets you create a specific plan and list for each person and pet in your family.

“All the information you put into the app is stored on your device, so it is not shared. You can build your family’s emergency plan here, and then it will create a supply list for your family emergency kit,” stated Thomas.

The map feature shows you nearby emergency providers, like fire stations, hospitals and open shelters. It will also alert you of any road closures during a disaster.

You also can build a notification list from your phone contacts, and it will notify your chosen list of your status during an emergency as soon as you have cellular service. “There are so many features and so many functions that will be crucial during a disaster,” said Thomas.

There is even information on what to do after a disaster.

“If your home is destroyed and you’re away from home, where does everyone meet? That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead so your family’s not caught up in that rush,” said Thomas.

App-users will also see a feature pop up after a disaster, allowing them to report damage to their homes. This will help county leaders know where the damage is faster and assess it quicker, to help people get financial aid.

The WILCO Ready app is free to download for android and apple phones. All the information you put into the app is only stored on your device, so it is not shared. Since the app launched this week, 260 people have downloaded WILCO Ready.

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