DETROIT, June 7 /PRNewswire/ -- With the 2007 hurricane season upon us, OnStar by GM and the American Red Cross announce a partnership to provide disaster relief information and assistance to OnStar subscribers in or near disaster-affected areas. During a hurricane or other crisis event, OnStar will be able to quickly access the Red Cross online crisis services information to direct OnStar subscribers to open shelters, feeding sites, and other disaster services. While the information is available to the public through the Red Cross, subscribers to OnStar will be able to get the information without placing an additional call. During a crisis many people are displaced by evacuations to unfamiliar areas. Using GPS locations, OnStar subscribers can obtain local and relevant crisis information. This partnership will allow OnStar to route subscribers to the nearest shelter with available space. Through the Red Cross Safe and Well Website -- accessible at www.redcross.org -- OnStar advisors can also help register subscribers so that their families and friends know that they are safe. "The Red Cross is always looking for innovative ways to provide disaster information to more people in more places," said Rick Davis, Red Cross Director of Emergency Communications. "This partnership allows us to use the technological power and broad reach of OnStar to connect people who are affected by a disaster and who may be on the move to escape harm. We know this will be a useful and important tool for very large numbers of people as we enter the upcoming hurricane season." "Our partnership with the American Red Cross allows us to offer more up- to-date crisis response information to our subscribers," said Scott Kubicki, Vice President, OnStar Subscriber Services. "Through OnStar Crisis Assist, we can help our subscribers navigate out of harm's way or summon help during an emergency. Before, during and after a disaster, any information that helps families manage crises quickly and safely, when every second counts, is information we want to provide through OnStar." When severe weather, natural disaster, or other crisis events affect OnStar subscribers, OnStar Crisis Assist will allow subscribers in a designated crisis area to take advantage of all OnStar services regardless of the service plans they have at no additional charge. Subscribers who have in- vehicle, hands-free calling service can use it as an alternative means of staying connected if they are without power in their homes or cannot recharge their cell phone batteries. OnStar's Crisis Assist capabilities also include specially trained Crisis Advisors, who will work to: * Contact emergency responders if needed and direct them to the subscriber's location, using OnStar's embedded cellular calling system and Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite technology, which pinpoint a subscriber's location when he or she contacts an advisor. * Provide real time crisis information and centralized assistance for food, water, and hotel accommodations along with information on road closures, power outages, and weather updates. * Share information on available shelters from the American Red Cross database and guide subscribers to these locations. * Connect subscribers to loved ones, family and friends. * List subscribers on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website. * Inform appropriate public safety officials when a subscriber contacts OnStar about someone in need of emergency assistance. The Red Cross began the Safe and Well site to serve as a way for those affected by a disaster to let loved ones know they are safe during an emergency. They can select from a list of standard messages, such as "I am currently at a shelter" or "Will make phone calls when able," to communicate with loved ones, letting them know of their well-being. Concerned family and friends can search the list of those who have registered themselves as "safe and well." The results of a successful search will display a loved one's first name, last name, an "As of Date," and the selected message. Preparation is the best defense in any kind of crisis. The American Red Cross and OnStar encourage subscribers to follow the U.S. government's recommendations for preparing for crisis situations. For more information on preparedness, visit www.redcross.org. For more information on OnStar Crisis Assist, visit www.onstar.com. About OnStar by GM OnStar, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors, is the world's leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and communication services. OnStar is available on more than 50 2007 GM models and includes one year of complimentary services, and will one year of service will become standard on nearly all GM retail vehicles in the United States by the end of 2007. OnStar provides services to more than four million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada. Turn-by-Turn Navigation is currently available to subscribers that have anti-lock braking systems and the latest generation of OnStar hardware. More information about OnStar and all of its services can be found at www.onstar.com. About the American Red Cross The American Red Cross helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Last year, almost a million volunteers and 35,000 employees helped victims of almost 75,000 disaster, taught lifesaving skills to millions, and helped U.S. service members separated from their families stay connected. Almost 4 million people gave blood through the Red Cross, the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The American Red Cross is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work.
SOURCE General Motors Corporation