Staying Connected Through Severe Weather

The ability to communicate with loved ones, emergency personnel, insurance professionals, friends and coworkers can be a challenge in the wake of a hurricane or other natural disaster. Here are a few things you can do to prepare your mobile devices in case of weather disruption:

  1. Charge your devices before a storm hits, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, DVD players, flashlights and radios. To preserve battery life, dim the background light on your screen and turn off background data applications or Wi-Fi search services.
  2. Create a list of emergency phone numbers and email address, including police, fire and rescue agencies; power companies; insurance providers; family, friends, and coworkers. Program them into your phone, smartphone, tablet or laptop and also have a hard copy handy, someplace easily accessible.
  3. Text, don’t call. 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.
  4. 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 public safety system.
  5. Know your apps:
    1. Download weather applications and alerts that provide users with a variety of information such as radar images, forecasts and severe storm warnings.
    2. 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 (FEMA).
    3. Use your free flashlight app. All smartphones have a free flashlight app in case the power goes out.
  6. Backup your information on cloud. Many wireless carriers offer backup assistance to store your phone’s address book and contact information as well as pictures and other content on a secure server.