Universal App Program: Hazard App

Welcome to the Hazard App!

The Global Disaster Preparedness Center’s Hazard app program aims to enhance disaster preparedness through the use of smartphone technology. Using the already existing American Red Cross hazard apps and key messages from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) disaster risk reduction guidance, the GDPC created a model multi-hazard preparedness app on an easy-to-use, web-based platform that will allow national societies to adapt the app to their local context. Participating national societies have released a multi-hazard preparedness app that can monitor and track weather developments, prepare individuals and communities for disaster scenarios, and assist users with finding help and sending safety notifications to family and friends during disasters. The Hazard app also allows for the ability to monitor multiple hazards simultaneously. National societies are able to independently manage the customization and translation of the apps, minimizing the time and cost that usually characterizes app development.

This page contains links to all guidance material to assist you before, during and after Hazard app development. Use any of the links below to access the guidance documents.

1.0 Introduction Documents

Initially, the GDPC will instruct you to appoint a Focal Point at your national society to act as a contact person to the GDPC during the development process. The GDPC would desireably prefer a person with a moderate command of English, and with some basic technical skills, such as familiarity with computers and smartphones. This person doesn’t have to be a technical genius, just competent. If your app will have a language that has not already been developed by another national society, then the GDPC will provide you with a Microsoft CSV Excel translation sheet which you or someone at your national society must translate before you can enter a development cycle. Finally, the GDPC will ask you to begin now thinking about the launch of your app and what promotional activities you are planning.

1.1 App Development Checklist

This short checklist will guide you through the key milestone tasks you need to complete in order to develop a Hazard app with the GDPC.

1.2 CMS Overview

The Content Management System (CMS) is the web-based tool used by the GDPC to develop the content of the app. Familiarity with the CMS is vital for you to develop a high-quality application. In the CMS you can edit the written content, add links and phone call buttons, upload and stream videos, and add images to your app. Edits and additions in the CMS must be published to the apps before they will appear.

1.3 Content Editor 

The CMS Content Editor is the primary tool you will use to edit your app’s content. Much of the work you will do on your app before and after launch will happen in the Content Editor, where you may upload images, edit text and objects, and add new pages. This brief guide will run through the main aspects of the Content Editor.

1.4 Disasters and Alerts

The Hazard App works different from the First Aid app in that it allows for automatic alerts to be sent out to users who have certain hazards enabled on their phones. This document will instruct you in how to select which Disasters and Hazards to feature in your app and which ones will include alert notifications to be sent to users.

1.5 Tests and Badges 

Users of the app have the option to complete tests on Hazard topics. Successful completion of tests will allow the user to earn badges. This guide will instruct you in how to create new tests, edit existing tests, remove unwanted tests, and upload new badges

2.0 Links

2.1 Link Type Guidelines – This lists the different types of links used in the CMS to phone and URLs.

The unique aspect about the Universal App Program is that it allows users to leave the app and make contact with your national society, the emergency services, or other origanizations. In the app, users can touch buttons that bring them to external websites, donate money, or call the ambulance. The destinations for these buttons are determined in the CMS. This document will instruct you in how to set them up.

3.0 App Store Information/Metadata

3.1 App information Guide/Metadata

Metadata is the information people will see about your app in the app stores. It is important to have unique and eye-catching icons and banners to go with this information.

3.2 Hazard Icon Examples – Each national society is expected to create a unique icon for their app.  This icon will appear on the iOS or Android device after the app is installed.  It must be 1024 x 1024 and saved in png format.
Icon Guide
Icon Gallery
3.3 First Aid Feature Graphic/Banner Guide – If your country has a Google Play store, then you will be expected to create a banner or feature graphic for your app that will appear a the top of the app’s page in the Play Store.

4.0 Media Files

Media files include images, menu icons and animations. The Hazard app is capable of holding all of these media types. Before you upload your own media files to your app, please take the time to review the following document.

4.1 Technical Specifications  – In this document you will see basic instructions in how to upload your media files. You will also be instructed in what size and format your files must be.

5.0 Publishing & Testing

Before you will see the changes you make in the CMS on your device, they will need to be published in the CMS. Unpublished changes will not be viewable. In the CMS you have the ability to publish to Test or Live. The GDPC recommends publishing to Test first, so you can view your changes in a special Developer Mode of the app before pushing those changes to the Live version. This good practice should be maintained especially after your app has gone live.

5.1 Delta Publish Guidelines
During the first week of developing app material a prototype is created to test on both an iOS and Android devices. The GDPC will provide you with a link where you can download this prototype. You will be able to view your published changes on this prototype.

You can continue to make changes in the CMS even after an app goes live in the app store.  The changes will then be pulled through in an update.  If these changes are small then it will not be an issue.  If it is a large amount it is recommended to coordinate with the GDPC in order to re-bundle the app and shorten the time it takes to load the changes.

5.2 App Testing

After you have made changes to your app you may test them on your device to ensure they look and function correctly. This guide will teach you how to use the app in a special developer mode, so that you may view test publishes before publishing them to the live app for users to see.

6.0 Push Notifications

6.1 Push Notificaation

After your app has been launched, you can send push notifications to users. These can be either general notifications for all users or geo-targetted notifications for users in specific areas. This guide will show you how to send a push notification and what types of notifications other national societies send.

7.0 Live App Guidelines

User Agreement Signoff

Before your app can be released, a member of your national society with signing authority must sign the agreement electronically in the CMS.  An electronic copy is available to review. It is in English and for legal reasons not translated. You can can translate at their own cost and discretion.

Other links:

Using Google Analytics


The GDPC utilizes Google Analytics tools to monitor the performance of the Hazard and First Aid apps. Google Analytics can tell us much about user behavior, location and retention. After your app has been released, the GDPC will grant you access to Google Analytics for you to make use of the tool yourself. The GDPC will also arrange for regular reports (in your country’s language, if available) to be sent to you from Google Analytics. This guide will give you some pointers on how to use the tool, and the most useful elements of it. You can also watch a video guide here.

Changing your Country Store – iOS

It is important that you are in the correct Country Store to view your app. The GDPC does not release the apps globally, and the app will only be released in your country’s store. This means you must have an account for your own country’s iTunes Store and be in that store to view and download the app. If you have an account for another country (i.e. American iTunes Store), you will not be able to download your app. You must create a new account, in your own national store to do so.

Confirming/Changing your Country Store – Android

It is important that you are in the correct Country Store to view your app. The GDPC does not release the apps globally, and the app will only be released in your country’s store. This means you must have an account for your own country’s Google Play Store and be in that store to view and download the app. The Google Play store links to your Google account and will work in whatever store you have your location settings set to.

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Learn How to Promote Your App!

Youtube Gallery of Instructional Videos

Introduction to the CMS New User:


Introduction to the CMS Existing User:




Uploading Images:


Video Editing and Uploading:


 Delta Publishing:


Push Notfication:


Changing Country Store (iOS):


Confirming Country Store (Android):


App Loader (iOS):


App Loader (Android):


Developer mode for iOS:


Developer mode for Android:


Using Google Analytics:


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