9 ways to be tech-ready for the next hurricane

With Hurricane Joaquin stirring up high winds and rain off the East Coast, FEMA has released a set of guidelines that might help you stay connected and keep your systems operational once the storm hits.

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Hurricane preparedness

With Hurricane Joaquin stirring up high winds and rain off the East Coast, FEMA has released a set of guidelines that might help you if the storm system hits. This slideshow provides you with tech guidelines during the storm.

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FEMA text messages

Use your cell phone’s text messaging capability to receive text message updates from FEMA (standard message and data rates apply).

Here is a basic command to get started:

  • To signup to receive monthly preparedness tips: text PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA)
Update your contacts
Update your contacts

Keep your contacts updated across all of your channels, including phone, email and social media. This will make it easy to reach out to the right people quickly to get information and supply updates. Consider creating a group list serve of your top contacts.

Updates via text
Credit: Garry Knight
Updates via text

Learn how to send updates via text and internet from your mobile phone to your contacts and social channels in case voice communications are not available. Text messages and the internet often have the ability to work in the event of a phone service disruption.

Batteries handy
Batteries handy

Keep extra batteries for your phone in a safe place or purchase a solar-powered or hand crank charger. These chargers are good emergency tools to keep your laptop and other small electronics working in the event of a power outage. If you own a car, purchase a car phone charger because you can charge your phone if you lose power at your home.

ICE
Credit: Simone Rowe
ICE

Program "In Case of Emergency" (ICE) contacts into your cell phone so emergency personnel can contact those people for you if you are unable to use your phone. Let your ICE contacts know that they are programmed into your phone and inform them of any medical issues or other special needs you may have.

Landline works still
Credit: Tom Page
Landline works still

If you have a traditional landline (non-broadband or VoIP) phone, keep at least one non-cordless receiver in your home because it will work even if you lose power.

Phone card
Credit: Soctech
Phone card

If you do not have a cell phone, keep a prepaid phone card to use if needed during or after a disaster.

Turn down the brightness
Turn down the brightness

Conserve your cell phone battery by reducing the brightness of your screen, placing your phone in airplane mode, and closing apps you are not using that draw power, unless you need to use the phone.

Hold off on those videos
Credit: stephane333
Hold off on those videos

Immediately following a disaster, resist using your mobile device to watch streaming videos, download music or videos, or play video games, all of which can add to network congestion. Limiting use of these services can help potentially life-saving emergency calls get through to 9-1-1.