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Hurricane Irma helps Zello emerge as top tech for hurricane prep


A hurricane watch has been issued for parts of south Florida and the Florida Keys. It's also set up to handle group communication for as many as 2,000 people.

While storms are no stranger to many people, using your phone to help navigate through one may be new to you. To download both apps, visit: redcross.org/mobile-apps/hurricane-app.

Zello differs from other messaging or voice apps by allowing the user to hold down a button and broadcast to other users logged into a specific channel - just like a tradition walkie talkie. You can push to talk and send instant messages to other people directly or to a group.

If you are still looking for information to evacuate before the storm, here is a list of apps and websites that may help.

Zello has been around for several years but since Hurricane Harvey the number of downloads have quadrupled or more.

GasBuddy is free for customers to use, but there is an option for businesses to advertise on the app. Companies can promote their brand within the app with native ads, videos, and giveaways.

Zello uses a fraction of the bandwidth of phone calls and will often work when calls won't get through.

Gavrilov warned users that Zello is not designed for disaster communications though, and will not work without either a WiFi or cellular data link, dispelling online rumors to the contrary.

"It is certainly going to work when cell phone calls don't, or landline alternatives don't". Have you ever tried browsing or posting to Facebook at a large football game?

Connect with contacts in Zello.

Zello. After Hurricane Harvey flooded the Houston area, Zello was the app residents used to ask for help when rising waters proved to be risky. "So we're doing everything to make sure that they get what they need". There are also other tools you can use to let your loved ones know you are safe. Do you know someone else we should interview for this story?

After receiving an endorsement from Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday, the app climbed 22 spots on the App Store's top free apps chart, from No. 26 to No. 4, according to app intelligence firm Sensor Tower.

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