September is National Preparedness Month
As we mark the anniversary of September 11th, we remember those who lost their lives, remind ourselves of the heroic efforts of those who responded, and renew our commitment to helping our families and communities be prepared.
September is “National Preparedness Month,” and there’s no better time than the present for businesses and individuals to be ready for future, unexpected events.
When it comes to preparedness, there’s one tool that’s proven to be a lifesaver time and time again, and that is the cell phone. Once considered a novelty, wireless devices are now universally recognized as necessities, particularly during times of emergency.
Cell phones are what keep us connected to our family and friends in good times and bad. Using our wireless devices, we can let others know we’re safe through a phone call or text message. When we lose power in our homes and are shut off from the outside world, we can continue to receive email alerts and updates on our smartphones and tablets, and we can use these same devices and apps to find out where the nearest shelter is, which gas stations are open, and when the all-clear has been issued.
Here are some basic tips when it comes to using your wireless device during an emergency:
- Keep cell phones, batteries, chargers and other equipment in a dry, accessible location.
- Consider waterproof accessories or simple zip-lock storage bags to protect your devices from potential water damage.
- Keep your wireless phone batteries fully charged, in case of commercial power is out.
- Consider purchasing a car-charger for your wireless device, a spare battery or a universal battery charger.
- Send brief text messages rather than voice calls – text messages require less bandwidth and are the best form of communication
during a crisis.
- Limit non-emergency wireless calls to conserve your battery power and free up wireless networks for emergency agencies and operations.
- Maintain a list of emergency numbers – police and fire agencies; power and insurance companies; family, friends and co-workers, etc. – and program them into your phone.
- Download weather-and safety-related applications to your smartphone or tablet. Many of these apps are free.
You can also use your wireless device to stay connected and
informed during emergencies by:
- Signing up online at NotifyMeHoward to receive emergency news alerts sent to your email address or mobile device.
- Using social media sites to post your status to let family and friends know you are safe.
- Following @HoCoGov or @FEMA on Twitter.
The more that you can do in advance to prepare for an emergency, the better you’ll fare when and if disaster strikes. Americans, by nature, are resilient, able to quickly rebound and rebuild when disasters strike. Being prepared only strengthens our ability to prevail.