10 Things: Prepare to Use Technology in a Disaster

9/11, Katrina, Haiti... these events changed the world.  They also changed the way we think about using  personal technology during a disaster.  Although we ought to prepare for a day when utilities and communications come crashing down, the truth is that some towers will stand, some messages will get through, and some connections will endure.  So taking a little time to anticipate what technology resources you might want and need in an emergency setting may be time well spent.

  • Learn to text.  Practice occasionally... especially with your 82 year old grandmother and your 7 year old son.  I know this sounds crazy to some of you, but other have sweaty palms and a heightened heart rate right now.
  • We all keep names and numbers in our cell phone, make sure to add street addresses and email to your phone contact list.
  • Keep photos of you family, friends, and pets in your phone. I routinely use my phones camera and screen shots to record notes and information as well.
  • Add relevant emergency numbers to your contacts now.  Especially if you or someone you care about travels often.  If there is a problem, it's nice to call the police, agencies, airlines, hotels, or consulates right away.
  • Take time now to research, add, and use smart phone apps, social media and news accounts that might help later.  I follow a few FEMA-type Twitter accounts, as well as, like a few local agencies on Facebook.
  • If you own a bit of nifty technology like a NOAA radio, satellite phone or back-up power.  Flip the switch and try it out!  
  • Finally, keep a paper back up of this emergency contact information. If the power goes out or you lose your phone.  You may have to give your message to someone who will make the call or send the email when they get to the next town over.
  • Practice using FRS/GMRS radios in your neighborhood.  Where will the signal reach and where does it cut out?
  • Try actually charging your phone with a solar or crank charger.  You'll probably be surprised how long it takes.
  • Make a plan to keep necessary cords and chargers with your devices (or keep a extra set at other locations) just in case.
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1 comment:

  1. When the tornados on April 27th devastated areas around here, cell phones and battery operated radios were they only lines of communication for days.