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NDSU Extension Service, Published October 30 2012

NDSU smartphone app for winter travel safety available for download

FARGO - Now is the time to download the Winter Survival Kit smartphone app in addition to gathering a winter survival kit for your vehicles.

The Winter Survival Kit app from the North Dakota State University Extension Service can help motorists stuck in winter weather. It can be as critical as a physical winter survival kit if you find yourself stuck or stranded in severe winter weather conditions, says Bob Bertsch, NDSU Agriculture Communication Web technology specialist. The app is available free for Android and iOS systems.

"Our app will help you find your current location, call 911, notify your friends and family, calculate how long you can run your engine to keep warm and stay safe from carbon monoxide poisoning," Bertsch says. "You can use the Winter Survival Kit app to store important phone and policy numbers for insurance or roadside assistance. You also can designate emergency contacts you want to alert when you become stranded."

If you become stranded, the Winter Survival Kit app will help you determine your geographic location and contact emergency services. The app's gas calculator will help you estimate how long you can run your engine on your remaining fuel.

The Winter Survival Kit app will alert you every 30 minutes to remind you to turn off your vehicle's engine periodically and check the exhaust pipe for snow buildup. These alerts are critical in helping you avoid deadly carbon monoxide poisoning, Bertsch says.

The Winter Survival Kit app also provides NDSU Extension Service information on how to put together a physical winter survival kit, prepare your vehicle for winter driving and stay safe when stranded in a storm or stuck in snow.

The app was developed by Myriad Devices, a company founded by students and

faculty in the NDSU Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and College of Business. The NDSU Extension Service provided design and content input, and funded the project with a U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Smith-Lever Special Needs grant.

This is the second smartphone app developed jointly by the NDSU Extension

Service and Myriad Devices with NIFA support. The Disaster Recovery Journal app lets users record information about home inventory and/or damages as they enter their flooded homes. The app allows them to use text, images and audio. The app also provides Extension information on how to clean or deal with flood-damaged items.

Learn more about the apps at http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/extension/apps.