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New app to help Flint residents navigate water crisis

Mar 1, 2016

Empower Flint App Icon
Credit Courtesy photo

A new app for mobile devices aims to help Flint residents get the information they need to deal with the city's water crisis.

It's called "Empower Flint," and it gives Flint residents a checklist of the most important steps to take to protect themselves, their families and even their pets from the lead in Flint's water and pipes. 

Michigan State Professor Brian Winn, who led the development of the app, said residents are inundated with information that can be confusing and contradictory. He said the goal of the app is to provide trustworthy information in a prompt manner all in one place and keep it up to date.

"When we built the app, it was to push information out and to provide people with the timely information they need at the time that they need it," said Winn.

Features of the app include: 

  • A search operation so the user can find the closest distribution centers for free bottled water, free water filters and nutritious food
  • Push notifications with boil water and other alerts
  • Water, health, and nutrition tips arising from the Flint water crisis
  • Announcements of community meetings and available community resources

The app can be found on EmpowerFlint.Org, and can be used on both Android and Apple iOS smart phones and tablets.

The app was developed by researchers at Michigan State University and WKAR-TV, its public TV station. They collaborated with partners that include residents of Flint, Central Michigan 2-1-1, and MSU's Colleges of Human Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.