As you prepare your home and take safety precautions when severe weather approaches, make sure your digital devices are ready to help you during a storm. Here are some tips to consider ahead of a storm:
Keep your digital devices charged.
Ensure all digital devices and backup chargers plugged in as long as you have power. If you’re preparing to evacuate, ensure your devices are 100% charged before you leave. When you’re on the road, use mobile chargers in the care and only use your cell phone only for emergency calls or updates.
Locate or purchase a car phone charger and spare battery.
If power is out for an extended period, your vehicle could be a valuable source of energy for your mobile devices. It’s a great way to stay connected during a storm whether you need to evacuate or not
Download emergency service apps. Emergency service apps give you access to important resources. AAA’s mobile app is the single best way to request Emergency Roadside Service. The Hurricane Disaster App from the American Red Cross allows you to monitor hurricane conditions in your local area, throughout the storm track, and let others know you are safe even if the power is out. It’s free and available in the App Store or on Google Play. The FEMA mobile app allows you to get real-time alerts for up to five locations nationwide, locate emergency shelters, and connect with FEMA to register for disaster assistance online. It’s also free for Apple and Android devices.
Update your existing apps.
Check weather and emergency-related mobile apps on your digital devices to make sure they're up-to-date and functioning. Check them again when you receive news that a storm may be approaching.
Back up your phone and computer.
We’re used to having our data at the ready thanks to our digital devices, but make sure important documents and anything you want to protect that is currently only on a hard drive is backed up to the cloud. If you have a Dropbox or OneDrive account, check to ensure that your important documents and data are stored there. If not, set one up and copy all data to that account.
Save duplicate copies of important documents to the cloud.
Create a new, separate, and private Google account just for this. Scan and upload copies of things like insurance policies, vaccine records, copies of photo identification, passports and birth certificates to Google Docs using your digital devices. Create a Google spreadsheet and make a list of all of the logins, passwords and contacts needed in quickly—everything from your banks and insurance websites to your social media logins. Consider giving access to this account to a trusted family member in case you’re unable to access the information during a power outage.
Update your home inventory.
Technology might be the least sentimental thing in your home, but it can be an expensive loss. Be sure to update your home inventory to ensure all new items are covered. You can even use the same digital devices to make inventorying easier by taking photos or videos. Create a private YouTube channel or photo library to save in the cloud so you won’t have to worry about storing the data you record. More on a quick home inventory here.