Microsoft launches free natural disaster helper app

Available now as a free download on Windows Phone, Android and iPhone, HelpBridge is Microsoft’s new mobile app that everybody should have on their handset, just in case. Should you, God forbid, ever find yourself at the epicenter of a large scale natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, the software will help you connect with those that matter to you most.

As a bonus, you can also use HelpBridge to rally everyone around one cause – that is, donate your money, time and resources to support relief and rebuilding efforts. The above clip shows off the Windows Phone version of HelpBridge, but you get the idea…

Powered by Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud platform, the software provides access to the world’s leading disaster relief organizations that you’ll want to contact when a disaster strikes.

There are also handy links to volunteering efforts around you and nationwide.

From Microsoft:

The HelpBridge mobile application simplifies the process of notifying loved ones by simultaneously sending an e-mail and SMS to the communities you select & posting a message to your Facebook wall. You can even include your GPS coordinates so that message recipients will know where you are and the circumstances surrounding you.

Preparation is everything: you’ll want to create a list of your friends and family members before the worst disaster of your life strikes. In the time of need, simply tell the app to alert everyone on the list via SMS, email or Facebook (no Twitter?).

You can type in anything you want for your emergency message. Optionally, HelpBridge lets you include your geographical location so those who might be able to help can see how close to the catastrophe you are.

Of course, the message should contain details about your dire situation and include other important pieces of information you deem necessary to communicate.

Frankly, all mobile devices should have these features baked in right into the bowels of their operating system.

Cunningly, Microsoft requires you to sign in via a Microsoft Account ID or Facebook before you can send messages via e-mail or SMS.

As for the donating feature, you can donate via text-to-give (for donations of $5 or $10), give goods or make monetary contributions via PayPal.

The only complaint we have: HelpBridge is a US-only affair.

More information is available on Microsoft’s Corporate Citizenship Blog.