Mexico City Uses Bridgefy For Safety After Earthquake

Mexico City Uses Bridgefy For Safety After Earthquake

The Bridgefy App in Real Life 05/13/2021

Featured image credit: ProtoplasmaKid / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0

What do you do when a massive earthquake shakes your city, causing 40 buildings to collapse, injuring 6,000 people, and, unfortunately, leaving 370 deaths? This is exactly what people in Mexico City lived through on September 19, 2017, and they used the Bridgefy App to keep themselves, and friends and family, safe.

The 2017 Puebla earthquake struck for 20 seconds, at 1:14 PM, local time, on September 19. It hit the states of Puebla and Morelos, and Mexico City, with a magnitude of Mw 7.1. Coincidentally, it occurred on the 32nd anniversary of the more massive and deadlier 1985 Mexico City earthquake, which is remembered with a drill every year. In 2017 it was held at 11 AM, about two hours before the disaster began.

The Bridgefy App quickly went viral as people recommended it to one another to keep communication going during the hours that Internet and phone lines were down. Some media outlets picked up the news almost immediately, and continued the trend as the month progressed. By late September, downloads had grown a staggering 4,000%.

Bridgefy App Downloads Mexico 2017

Bridgefy App downloads in Mexico, from September 14 to 28, 2017. Graphic made with internal records.

youtube actualizate bridgefy

Instead of relying on an online connection, Bridgefy uses a smartphone’s Bluetooth antenna to send messages within 330 feet or 100 meters. However, every phone acts as a link in an ever increasing chain of devices, known as a mesh-network. This allows the Bridgefy App to cover large areas by letting messages “hop” through other users’ phones until they reach the intended destination. This way, Mexicans could tell friends and family they were safe or they could look for loved ones they couldn’t reach through any other means at the moment.

People in Mexico City are used to earthquakes and, with every passing year, they’re much more prepared. We feel humbled they turned to Bridgefy in a moment of great distress and need, and feel proud our app was up to the challenge. This experience stands as another real-life example of the many situations in which Bridgefy can help people stay connected when they don’t (or can’t) have access to the Internet.

Sources:
Digital Trends. Bridgefy es una app mexicana para desastres que funciona aunque no haya Internet.
Wikipedia. 2017 Puebla earthquake.