To help residents access supplies during natural disasters and storms, the state has launched a new online application, Business Finder, that provides updated information on business hours.
Announced on Monday by Gov. Dannel Malloy and the Connecticut Department for Consumer Protection, the web-based, mobile-optimized database will help users find pharmacies, locations to receive dialysis, grocery stores and gas stations in the case of a natural disaster, storm or other type of emergency.
In an interview with Fox News on Monday, Malloy said he believes the app will contribute to the progress he has made in the state’s emergency preparedness, which has largely been through the Emergency Planning and Preparedness Initiative launched in 2012.
“From our experiences with all of the storms, we’ve learned a lot, and I think Connecticut has evolved,” Malloy said. “We’ve passed major legislation on preparation, we drill every year and this is another step to make sure that the lessons we learn where people get nervous about gas or access to pharmacies or dialysis are going to have a one-stop shop.”
In addition to locating the nearest available resources, the app will also provide directions to the indicated location. The app can function on any computer or smartphone with Internet access. The website runs on major browsers such as Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox and on both Macs and PCs, as well as iPhones and other mobile devices.
Vincent Candelora, the state representative on the Public Health and Regulations Review Committee, said that the app will be particularly helpful because it can be accessed on a mobile phone during power outages.
The website will record up-to-date information, including when the website was last updated. Businesses voluntarily opt in to be listed on the website and can update whether they are functioning with limited hours or operating without power or phone service.
The app uses a geo-positioning function, so users can immediately find for nearby options, or they can enter a street address, town and zip code.
In the statement released on Monday, John Gadea, director of drug control for the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, said that the app is the first mobile-optimized website that is designed to provide information on pharmacy operations, portable oxygen, home medical supplies and dialysis treatment.
Two out of six Yale students interviewed said they would use the app in a state of emergency to locate necessary supplies.
Selena Maitui ’18 said she thinks the University adequately provides for students in emergency situations, and that she would probably not use the app.
Issey Norman-Ross ’15 echoed her sentiment, but added that she might use the app if she needed medical supplies such as a prescription.
“It sounds like a great idea,” said Shane Kim ’17. “If it came down to a terrible situation and the University couldn’t provide what I needed, I would use the app.”
Matthew Nemerson SOM ’81, New Haven’s economic development administrator, said that as a result of global warming, the number of natural disasters has recently increased, causing the city and state to put added resources into emergency preparation. He added that the app addresses the transition to a real-time response through technology in case of emergency.
According to data from the National Weather Service, February ended with an average daily temperature of 16.1 degrees, which is a new record for the coldest month in greater Hartford since 1904.