As a huge winter storm descends on the Northeast U.S., bear in mind that your digital devices can help you to deal with whatever they bring. Here are some tips to help keep you safe:
- Make sure you can quickly and easily find the latest information along with safety and preparedness tips and advice: Bookmark useful sites on your smart phone and laptop, such as our story, Be prepared for any emergency, and http://m.fema.gov.
- Your family may not be together when a storm hits, so make a plan in advance how you'll contact one another and get back together—and make sure everyone's phones are charged fully.
- During and after storms, cell-phone networks may be congested, but you can often get texts through when you can't make calls. So teach your family how to send and read text messages as a way to get in touch.
- Identify an out-of town contact, as it may be easier to make long-distance calls than to call across town. Be sure every member of your family knows the emergency contact's phone number and has a cell phone.
- Prepare a go-kit, an emergency supply kit that includes items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights, batteries, and solar-powered cell-phone charger.
- If you have a land-line phone, keep at least one non-cordless phone handy; it will work even if you lose power. And if you do lose power, turn off your lights and unplug appliances, so circuits don't overload when power comes back on.
- Charge all your devices, and stay stocked up on batteries!