Smartphone Digital Disaster Prep: Are You Ready?
During an emergency or disaster, the best approach is to be prepared. Know your risks. Make a communication plan with the family. Prepare an emergency supply kit (water, medications, food, flashlights, etc.). Your smartphone can be a great asset to you during disasters, if you plan well.
Mobile phones can give you the a universe of knowledge in a 4″ x 6″ case. You probably always have your cell phone near you, like an extra appendage. Why not brush up on some cell phone disaster tips?
Disaster apps to download: Emergency Preparedness
- FEMA app. Access disaster safety tips, an emergency kit list, emergency meeting location information, and a map with open shelters. Text ANDROID or APPLE to 43362 (4FEMA) and receive a link for download (standard data/message rates apply) or go to the mobile site http://m.fema.gov and click SOCIAL , APP, TEXT MESSAGES then click ANDROID or APPLE.
- Red Cross app. Access information on first aid, disaster risks and shelters. Visit www.redcross.org and click OUR FREE APPS at the bottom (available in English and Spanish).
- ICE (In Case of Emergency) app. Store emergency health information as well as list an emergency contact on the lock screen of your phone so medical technicians can get it as quickly as possible. Search ICE in your app store to download.
- MyFamily app. Keep your family’s health plan and prescriptions up to date on your phone and you’ll have them in an emergency. Visit www.HealthFinder.gov for more information.
- ***PSSST: I downloaded the first two apps. It took 3 minutes max (of course, they are free!). Just do it!
Cell Phone Disaster Tips
- Update your contact list with all the important numbers. In addition to family, friends, neighbors, local authorities, make sure to include medical contacts and pharmacies.
- Remember to text. Disasters often lead to overwhelmed phone lines. Texting can be a much better form of communication.
- Invest in solar or hand crank chargers. Any back-up powering system is good, even car chargers. Also conserve your power by going to airplane mode (cell phone setting) when not in use and reducing screen brightness when in use. Here’s some examples of chargers I found.
- Use social media to stay informed.
- Put your important docs within digital reach safely. Scan important records such as household records, medical records, and financial documents, and save the files on a cloud or flash drive. You may also want to password-protect the data you have stored in case of loss or theft. Store the backup records in a safe deposit box or other off-site location.
- Get safety information sent directly to your phone. Below is a list of disaster specific keywords you can use to sign-up for bi-monthly safety tips via text message:
- Hurricanes: text HURRICANE to 43362 (4FEMA)
- Home fires: text FIRE to 43362 (4FEMA)
- Wildfires: text WILDFIRE to 43362 (4FEMA)
- Tornadoes: text TORNADO to 43362 (4FEMA)
- Earthquakes: text EARTHQUAKE to 43362 (4FEMA)
- Winter storms and extreme cold: text WINTER to 43362 (4FEMA)
- Power outages: text BLACKOUT to 43362 (4FEMA)
- Floods: text FLOOD to 43362 (4FEMA)
- General monthly safety tips: text PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA)
- Please note: If subscribing to more than one list, send a separate text for each disaster type you would like to subscribe to. There is no limit to the number of subscriptions. Sending STOP will automatically unsubscribe you from all our lists.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.