Get Tech Ready for Emergencies

By Shaunda Rauch on September 16, 2013 from Emergency Services Blog via Connect-Bridgeport.com

When most people prepare for an emergency, they assume they won’t be able to use technology as a resource; the power will probably be out, so technology won’t be able to help.  With effective planning, it’s possible to take advantage of technology before, during and after a crisis to communicate with loved ones, manage your financial affairs, and get important information.
 
Information and communication are two of the most important aspects of successfully getting through an emergency, they can get you in touch with loved ones, alert you to where resources are, and let you know when it’s safe to be outside. By using technology as a resource, you can improve your ability to communicate and receive information.
 
Getting tech ready means not only preparing your devices to be easy access resources for you and your family, but also planning for ways to keep your devices powered.  Get a solar-powered or hand crank charger and a car charger for your phone to keep it powered throughout the emergency.
 
Follow important officials and organizations on social media channels, doing so will help you receive important information if you can’t access television or radio.  By identifying these accounts now, you won’t have to search for them in the middle of an emergency or drain your battery during the search.  Key accounts include emergency management agencies, Governors, local officials, and local media.  Another good way to keep in touch with officials is to see if they offer text message updates; FEMA has a text message program which includes preparedness tips and other resources, get more information by texting INFO to 43362 (4FEMA) or visiting fema.gov/text-messages.
 
Synchronize your contacts across all your devices and all your channels so that way you have many ways to get ahold of people.  By having access phone numbers, social media accounts, and email addresses, you can get in touch with your loved ones even if one system or channel is down.  Often when phone calls are difficult to make, you can send text messages, social media messages, or emails to pass along important information.
 
Make sure you program "In Case of Emergency" (ICE) contacts into your cell phone so emergency personnel can contact those people for you if you’re unable to use your phone.  Let your ICE contacts know that they’re programmed into your phone and inform them of any medical issues or other special needs you may have.  If something should happen to you, that action will help you receive the care you need and let your loved ones know where you are.
 
Download resource apps for your smartphone, they often have important information like phone numbers, first aid tips, and other resources.  The FEMA App contains disaster safety tips, an interactive emergency kit list, emergency meeting location information, and a map with open shelters and open FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs). 
 
While these are just a few examples of how you can turn technology into a valuable resource during an emergency, visit ready.gov/get-tech-ready to get more tips.


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