A disaster strikes and all you’ve got is your phone or laptop. What now? We’ve mentioned a few different apps to help you plan and find shelters once things have settled, but what is the best way to reach your loved ones? A recent Wired article explains that there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to communicating with loved ones during an emergency. We’ve summarized a few of the tips, but be sure to also read the comments at the bottom of the Wired article, there are many more useful suggestions there.
Note: It’s important to use your phone with discretion. If you over use the battery by using apps or making unnecessary calls, you may not be able to talk to those you need to.
It’s important to leave the lines open for emergency responders. If you’re not injured and don’t need immediate help, keep the lines clear for those that do. If you absolutely must call, be brief.
In order to avoid plugging up the network, send a text. Texts are smaller data packets than voice calls and often get through the network much more easily. You can also send mass texts to loved ones so everyone gets a message that updates them with your status.
Social media is useful to reach out to loved ones because they don’t rely on a single connection protocol like cellphone networks and phone lines. Take a look at our list of emergency preparedness apps to learn about useful software tools you can use before and during an emergency. Again, be mindful of battery life.
Use a Hardwired Data Connection
When you’re using your laptop to send messages online, remember that wired connections can handle more traffic. It’s smart to use wired connections in disaster situations because they also tend to be the most reliable in emergencies. If possible, plug in your laptop.
Tell People You’re OK
With your laptop plugged into a hardwired connection you can update Facebook and Twitter, send emails, and whatever it takes to let people know how you’re doing. Use your social networks to your advantage and let people know everything is fine. It’s a terrible feeling to have to wonder how someone is doing, don’t make your loved-ones worry.
If your battery is dying and you’ve only got one call to make, use it to update your voicemail. This way anyone who calls doesn’t have to wonder why you didn’t answer. Letting them know your whereabouts and status will put them at ease.