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Android App Review: Auckland Civil Defence
Mon, 29th Sep 2014
FYI, this story is more than a year old

It's not glamorous or fun to be prepared for impending disasters, but when the impending disaster hits glamour probably won't be a priority any more. Civil Defence knows this, which is why they've made this Auckland-based informative app.

When you first open the app you're presented with a basic run-down of how to use the app, and I really wish more developers would consider putting this in. Even without it though this is a pretty straightforward app – tap the thing you want information about, and the app brings up a page with information about it. Nothing flashy, just useful text.

The most important section is probably the Notices page (which when I checked said there were no declared emergencies for the Auckland region. If you're not reading this neck-deep in lava or flood waters then we can assume that the app is working correctly).

The Events menu had more in it, as you'd hope, with information about a few local community meet-ups that would have a Civil Defence presence. These were fairly brief, but had links to the respective websites.

The Info section had exactly that – useful information about various Disasters, finding Welfare Centres, How to Get Ready, Who to Contact (I'm capitalising because these are, in fact, the titles of the sub-sections). This is where that lack of glamour comes in; there's nothing fun about creating a Household Emergency Plan but nevertheless it's important, and while this app doesn't make it cool it does make it a little easier by telling you what you need to do.

The app can be a bit buggy here and there – pages are slow to load considering they're mostly text-based, and when you scroll down the menu bar will get stuck to the page for a couple of seconds – but none of it was fatal, just a bit annoying occasionally.

Auckland has been really lucky, disaster-wise, compared with a lot of places overseas (and even some, like Christchurch, that are closer to home). Touch-wood that continues, but a little bit of preparedness never hurt anyone – and when the first step is as easy as downloading a free app then you might as well.