Be Prepared: Tech Help for Emergency Planning
According to the Washington Post, more than 40% of Americans lived in a county affected by a climate-related disaster last year. September is National Preparedness Month, and its purpose is to raise awareness about the importance of being prepared for disasters and emergencies. There are a lot of ways that technology can help you and your family prepare for emergencies that can happen at any time.
Radar and Storm Tracker Apps
The type of disasters and emergencies you’re most likely to encounter, as well as the resources available, depends a lot on where you are. The most common emergency events here in Houston are hurricanes, flooding, and extreme heat. Most of us have weather apps preinstalled on our smartphones, but specialized apps for tracking hurricanes and tropical storms can provide you with much more detailed information when needed.
Clime, formerly NOAA Radar Pro (Android, iOS)
My Hurricane Tracker (Android, iOS)
Federal, state, and local governments have apps and websites available to help you find resources close to you. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a website, Ready.gov, and an app that provides tips and tools to help you before, during, and after disasters and emergencies. ReadyHarris.org has similar information for the Houston area.
Other apps that you already have can also be used during emergencies. Facebook’s Safety Check feature lets your friends and family know you’re safe. Your camera app on your smartphone can be used as a scanner, allowing you to create electronic versions of important documents and other records. Apps like GasBuddy and NextDoor can tell you where to find gas, groceries, and other supplies near you. Even being signed up for direct deposit and electronic banking services can be helpful, making sure you can access your money and make necessary payments.
It’s never too early to plan and get prepared.