In our increasingly technologically reliant society, people are finding new ways to communicate during and after a disaster. For example, during the Japanese crisis and East Coast earthquake people went for their mobile phones and computers to tell their family and friends what was going on. More Americans are using social media and technology in emergencies, and to help people understand and prepare the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration) joined together to present a new tip list for How to Communicate Before, During and After a Major Disaster.
The list contains some key information for us to remember as we keep upgrading, and I’ve listed a few of the major tips below…
Does your household rely on cordless phones for your landline? Cordless phones require power both at the handheld units and the base station, which will likely be unavailable during a major disaster. It is recommended that you keep at least one traditional cord-based phone around the house. Keep emergency contact information in your cell phone, and subscribe to text alert systems that many state and local governments are starting to offer. After a disaster hits, if you lose power try to keep your cell phone charged. You can reduce the brightness settings, close apps, and put the phone in airplane mode to conserve power. Keep a car charger handy to recharge it if needed. With a smart phone or other mobile device using a cell network, a natural reaction can be to go online and watch streaming media to find out what is going on. Resist the urge as it can add to network congestion that can hinder emergency response. Keep a battery powered or hand cranked radio handy instead. For non-emergency communications use text messaging, e-mail, and social media. In addition, they suggest using the American Red Cross Safe and Well website. If you do need to make a phone call, try to keep it brief.
For more tips, visit the How to Communicate Before, During and After a Major Disaster and Ready.gov’s Get A Kit – Get Tech Ready websites.