Okla. firefighter develops storm shelter location app

The information will allow rescuers to streamline disaster response by using precise location

MOORE, Okla. — Emergency responders in Moore, Okla. have a new tool when it comes to locating tornado survivors in underground shelters.

After a devastating tornado rolled through the area last May, GPS technology will now allow rescuers to pinpoint shelter locations through a cell phone app, News9.com reported.

"We can drop the pin directly on top of the shelter, and we can go right to that pin later," Moore Fire Dept. Lt. Shonn Neidel said.

Lt. Neidel knows his phone could be the key in streamlining disaster response by using precise location in the aftermath of a tornado.

"When it's leveled, all your landmarks are gone," Neidel said.

With programming help from his brother-in-law, the duo developed the app. It was designed to work off a network to function even when cell towers are down, according to Capt. Neidel. The information contained in the app will only be shared with crews traveling from home to home, working to free those underground, according to the report.

"We will find you," Neidel said. "As long as [the shelter is] registered with us, we'll get to you."

The app will also allow crews to instantly notify a command center on which shelters have been checked and which have not, according to the report. Currently, the app is only available to the City of Moore, but Capt. Neidel hopes it will eventually be able to benefit communities across the nation.

Join the discussion

Copyright © 2023 Fire Chief. All rights reserved.