Crises, such as thunderstorms and an increasing number of (recognised) terroristic attacks in 2015, 2016, and 2017, do not only lead to extensive monetary damage, but also threaten human lives and influence citizens’ perceptions of safety and security. In such situations, the population demands information about the damage and safe behaviour. Although some apps are available to provide this information, the number of users seems relatively low. Focussing on Germany, this study aims to research (1) the distribution of crisis apps in the population, (2) the kinds of crisis apps currently used, as well as (3) needed core functionalities of warning apps. This multi-method study analyses crisis apps by investigating their utilisation quantitatively in a snowball-based survey in Europe (n=1,034) and in a representative survey in Germany (n=1,369). Based on this, the German warning apps Katwarn and NINA and the US-American app FEMA are evaluated qualitatively (n=22). The results revealed requirements which informed the implementation of a warning app prototype. The prototype combines the identified advantages of the apps evaluated in the study, containing warnings and all-clear, recommendations for action, functions to contact friends and helpers. The contributions of this work are findings on the distribution of crisis apps in Europe and Germany (both 16%), the kinds of crisis apps used (mostly weather and warning apps), and empirically based requirements for warning apps which can be integrated in further developments of existing apps and a prototype for such an app.

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