Tech Tips to Stay Connected During an Emergency
By Mel Fabrikant Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 11:48 AM EDT
It’s hard to believe that a year has gone by since Hurricane Sandy hit North Jersey, and the northeast region, destroying our homes and causing much heartache to the community. With the one year anniversary upon us, Verizon Wireless suggests a few tips on how technology can help keep your family connected in the event of an emergency.
1. Program your smartphone to receive emergency alerts. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are free wireless notifications that are delivered to your mobile device as part of a new public safety system.
2. To help preserve battery life, turn off background data applications or Wi-Fi search services if you have a wireless device that is capable of these communications.
3. 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.
4. Download Back-up Assistant, Verizon Wireless’ free application that stores your phone’s address book and contact information on a secure server.
5. Download apps and subscribe to alerts from aid and relief organizations such as the American Red Cross’ apps for first aid, hurricane and shelter, and the Commercial Mobile Alert System from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
6. Wireless devices can be a key source of information and communication in an event of an emergency, so be sure to keep phones, tablets, laptops, batteries, chargers and other equipment in dry, accessible locations like re-sealable plastic bags.
7. 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.
8. 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.