Whether it's an impending storm, an unforeseen natural disaster or some other type of emergency situation, planning ahead can save you a lot of trouble, worry and maybe even your life. Wireless communication is an invaluable tool during an emergency and you can make sure you're prepared by taking a few simple precautions.
Take just a few moments to review the "E.M.E.R.G.E.N.C.Y." list to know your wireless device and its functions so you and your family – regardless of location – are able to communicate.
- Emergency numbers should be stored into ALL wireless devices. This may include home, work and mobile numbers of your family, friends, medical professionals and veterinarians.
- Make sure your device(s), batteries and chargers are dry, cool and accessible. You may want to keep them a sealable and waterproof plastic bag.
- Engage locks, PINs and passwords on your device in case it is lost or stolen.
- Remember that your safety should always be your priority. It may be tempting to take photos or videos of what is happening outside, but doing so could be dangerous.
- GPS, video, picture messaging and voice activation are some of the safety features available on a wireless device. Mapping destinations, locating emergency services, pinpointing locations and capturing photos are some of the numerous ways your wireless device can increase your safety. There may be apps available too.
- Emergency? Call 911.
- Networks may be challenged when disasters strike so it's best to use text messages/SMS and social media tools (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to connect with your family and friends to let them know your status. Text messages travel faster on wireless networks than voice calls. Try to limit your non-emergency communications though to save your battery and reduce traffic on the networks so first responders and those who need 911 service may get the help needed.
- Charge your mobile device and make sure to have a backup power source in case it's needed. Whether buying additional batteries for your wireless device or car chargers, remember that you may need to power your device for more than just a day or two.
- Your smartphone or feature phone may be Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) capable, which would provide you with free text-like alerts for Presidential (issued by the President); Imminent Threats (e.g., manmade or natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc.); and AMBER Alerts. Pay attention to these alerts and follow the instructions. It could save your life.
Want to extend your battery life? Here are 4 tips:
- Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections unless a cellular signal is not available.
- Minimize usage unless absolutely necessary. This includes calling, text messages, playing games, taking/watching photos or videos, etc.
- Minimize your screen's brightness.
- Use alternative charging sources if your electricity is out, such as car chargers, solar power or hand crank/manual.
Last Updated: November 2013