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Emergency Preparedness Essentials
 

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Employing Technology in a Disaster

Technology has simplified the process of disaster preparation, adaption, and recovery. Technology makes it possible for family members and friends to communicate prior to, during, and after natural and manmade disasters.

Stay Connected

Ensure contacts remain updated in contact lists, address books, and computer files. Having contact information easily accessible makes it easier to receive updates from family members and friends. Develop a group list with contact information for immediate family members and close friends.
  • If you donít already know how too, learn how to send text messages and emails from your cell phone since these messages can often be sent when mobile telecommunications lines are damaged. Phone service is typically unavailable when mobile lines are damaged.
  • Carry extra phone batteries or a hand crank charger in a 72 hour kit since power is often down for hours during emergencies. Purchase hand crank chargers that charge different types of batteries, such as laptop batteries. Additionally, be sure to carry a car cell phone charger to charge your phone while you evacuate to a safe area.
  • Program an ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact in your mobile phone in case you become incapacitated, so emergency specialists can assist you. Notify your ICE contact and inform him or her of any special medical conditions.
  • If you still use a landline in your home, make sure that you own one corded phone at a minimum since these phones work during power outages.
  • If you must evacuate your home and subscribe to a call-forwarding service, ensure phone calls to your home get forwarded to your cell phone.
  • If you do not own a mobile phone, purchase a prepaid phone to use during an emergency.
  • Develop a family contact list. Include at least one contact that lives in another city or state since itís typically easier to contact individuals living outside the disaster area.
  • Include a hand-cranked or battery-powered radio in a 72 hour kit. Also include extra batteries in this kit.
The following are extra tips regarding smart and mobile phone use during disasters:
  • Make brief calls. If you must speak on the phone, only discuss vital information with family members or rescue personnel.
  • If a phone call does not go through, pause for ten seconds before reattempting the call to limit network congestion.
  • Close open apps, switch to airplane mode, and reduce screen brightness to conserve battery power. Only use the phone when absolutely necessary.

Organize Your Information

Store financial and other important documents in a flash drive, an online cloud storage service, or other secure location. Flash drives can be kept on key chains or stored in purses, computer bags, briefcases, etc. The following documents should be stored in secure locations:
  • Property and personal insurance.
  • Birth certificates, social security cards, and other personal identification documents.
  • Bank statements and other vital banking info.
  • Medical records.
  • Veterinary records.
  • Store photos of your pets to identify them if separation occurs.
Since families are often not together during natural disasters, itís essential to develop a family communications plan or emergency preparedness document. These plans will detail how your family will contact each other, reunite, and act in various scenarios.
  • Make a copy of your plan and distribute it to friends, co-workers, and others who might need access to it during a natural disaster or other emergency.
  • If your plan contains sensitive or personal information, such as financial or health details, only share it with others who can be trusted and will need access to it during an emergency.

Emergency Resources

We recommend including the following sites amount your emergency information so that you can easily access them from any computer or smart phone during a disaster.
Are You Prepared?
Be informed about disasters
Make an emergency survival plan
Build a survival kit
Community and state resources
Emergency Resources by State
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