Microsoft's HelpBridge app offers disaster orientated communication service

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HelpBridge is an app and service from the Microsoft Citizenship team that aims to help friends and family stay connected when a disaster (natural or otherwise) occurs. The app works by sending a message (either and "I'm OK" message, or an "I need help" message) simultaneously by SMS, email, and Facebook to a pre-defined list of emergency contacts.

The idea is to simplify the sending process and use multiple communications channels to help improve the chance that a message will get through (typically communications can become unreliable in the wake of disasters). When sending a message you can opt to include location information, which has obvious benefits if you're in need of assistance.


HelpBridge also provides an easy way to donate money, supplies, or time (volunteering) to various disaster relief organisations. The app allows you to do this in a number of ways (text -to-give), PayPal and the donations of goods.

Currently some elements of HelpBridge will only fully work in the US (notably the donation portion of the app). While it is available for download worldwide, it should be noted that the app is not officially supported outside the US. The app is available for both Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8 devices.

The Next at Microsoft blog has a post on HelpBridge in which they explain the company's motivation for creating the app:

The motivation for creating HelpBridge stems from Microsoft’s involvement in disaster and humanitarian response over the past several years. In the wake of earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters, an app much like HelpBridge was created, but in each case the app was specific to that particular disaster or to the needs of a specific organization. Microsoft saw the need for an app that wasn’t specific to any region, disaster or relief organization.

Here's a video outlining the Microsoft HelpBridge project:


HelpBridge is designed to help you connect with the people that matter to you most during a large scale natural disaster. It also enables you to give your money, time and resources to support relief and rebuilding efforts. HelpBridge is available as a free download on Windows Phone, Android and iPhone.

HelpBridge for Windows Phone can be downloaded from the Windows Phone Store.

Source / Credit: HelpBridge