In the last two years, the Northeast has experienced two catastrophic hurricanes: In 2011, Hurricane Irene caused $15.8 billion in damages, and last year, Hurricane Sandy caused a total of $60 billion in damages, leaving over 8 million residents of New York and New Jersey without power. According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the Northeast will experience a “bitterly cold and snow-filled season” throughout 2013 and 2014. Although these storms are out of our control, we still have the power to prepare.
In honor of National Preparedness Month and the 1 Year Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Verizon Wireless suggests a few tips on how technology can help keep your family connected in the event of an emergency.
• Ensure that all battery-powered devices are fully charged before the storm hits. This includes wireless phones and smartphones, MiFi cards, laptops, tablets, DVD players, flashlights and radios.
• Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers and email addresses, including police, fire and rescue agencies; power companies; insurance providers; and family, friends and coworkers. Program them into your phone, smartphone, tablet or laptop and also have a hard copy handy, someplace easily accessible.
• You can also use your phone to follow local news, emergency contacts and community leaders via social media. Twitter handles like @FEMARegion2, @RedCrossNorthNJ and @USCERT_gov can provide vital information.
• When communicating with family during an emergency situation, opt for brief text messages rather than voice calls. Text messages are likely to get through more quickly in a crisis.
• Take advantage of your free flashlight app. All smartphones have a free flashlight app in case the power goes out and you’re left in the dark you can still get around.
Products and Services:
• Back up your archives and documents, including critical business data, stored on your computers. Verizon’s Online Backup & Sharing will allow any small-business owner to back up these important files to secure remote servers that only the user can access from anywhere with an Internet connection. Verizon’s Cloud allows individuals or families to sync and save important photos, videos, contacts, music, call logs and even text messages with secure storage.
• Consider adding a Jetpack to your disaster survival toolkit. A fully charged mobile hotspot can give you 4G LTE access instantaneously. Plus, mobile hotspot users can share their signal with several devices, enabling fellow disaster victims to gain access.
• Download the latest emergency preparedness apps and store emergency contact information on your mobile devices. Tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note® 10.1 utilize the multi-window feature allowing you to multi-task. Smartphones like the DROID MAXX have up to 48 hours of battery making it efficient in an emergency.
• Purchase a vehicle phone charger for those times when electricity is down but you need to keep powered and stay connected. The duel output allows you to charge two devices simultaneously.
Verizon Wireless recognizes the importance of preparedness and wants to help educate residents of New York and New Jersey. Please let me know if you are interested in any additional tips or information.