We live in a day and age where technology is able to make our lives easier. Television, computers, smartphones, etc. inform us and can keep us all connected. When it comes to disasters, how can we use technology to keep ourselves and our families safe? Here are some tech tools/devices that we can take advantage of to keep us safe, prepared, informed, etc. for when a disaster strikes.
First, it should be mentioned, that the CTIA and the wireless industry, along with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), developed the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to send concise, text-like messages to users? WEA-capable mobile devices. This ensures Americans are alerted to the dangerous situations as soon as possible. Every wireless user is already enrolled to receive three different kind of alerts.
In addition to the WEA, there are some additional apps, devices, tech tools, etc. that we can get to be on top of a disaster.
If you have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, check-ins, news feeds, updates, etc. are available. However, in and emergency or natural disaster for example, Twitter can go down due to too many tweets being exchanged during times of breaking news and emergencies. There are some additional apps/technologies to check out and consider.
In an emergency, how do you quickly find out if your family, your friends, your team are safe? The ping app allows small groups, families, and companies to quickly check in with each other. Ping is basically a binary, multichannel check-in tool for groups.
Another check-in app is GroupMe app is free. It lets up to 25 people text, exchange photos and share locations. You can also all hop on a conference call.? This could be a great tool for a family to use check in and discuss locations after a disaster has occurred in the area. Also, you don’t need to have the app to use GroupMe. You can add anyone from your phone book and they will immediately be able to chat with the group directly over SMS.
A good old-fashioned two-way radios work in any situation. Priced around $60, these radios provide dozens of channels over which you can communicate. Choose a primary and secondary one in advance. Look for a radio that’s powered via a wall outlet, batteries or an included solar panel.
You can find NOAA weather apps for your smartphone. Also, consider a radio capable of receiving NOAA weather alerts. You can use the radio to charge your other gadgets, like your phone.
You could have all the apps in the world to prepare you for survival when disaster strikes ? flashlight, emergency contacts, GPS and first aid tips ? but they?ll be entirely useless when you run out of battery juice on your phone. Standalone chargers and solar chargers for cellphones and other gadgets are available.
SPOT is great tool to have stored in your emergency kit. You can press a button to send your coordinates to emergency responders. Or notify friends and family that you need help. Since it works via satellite, it’s not susceptible to cellular outages.
The Disaster Alert app sends disaster alerts to your iPhone or Android smartphone where you can receive multi-hazard information.
Offered by the American Red Cross, the application maps locations and shelter details across the United States. Zoom in to the local area. View shelter details: the agency managing the shelter, capacity of the shelter and current population, the associated disaster event and the specific shelter address and location.
The Emergency Distress Beacon app sends your GPS coordinates via email or text message. For Android phones, there’s Send My Location.
The FEMA app gives you disaster safety tips, an interactive emergency kit list, storable emergency meeting locations, open shelters, FEMA disaster recovery centers, and a disaster reporter feature.
For additional information on getting tech savvy in case of an emergency or disaster go to, FEMA.gov. Also, check out these emergency gadgets.