Hardware

Safeguarding/Using Technology during Hurricane Florence

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hurricane-92968_1920.jpgAs the East Coast is currently being pummeled by Hurricane Florence, many have questions concerning what they can do to protect and utilize their technology in hopes of making sure themselves and their loved ones are safe. Technology impacts many aspects of these terrible situations, from satellite imaging of the storms to keeping track of people through the use of wireless devices.

While many cell phones currently offer water-damage protection, no device is entirely hurricane proof. If you are stuck in an area impacted by a storm or trying to evacuate, keeping your wireless devices dry and charged is a must. Merely keeping devices such as cell phones or tablets in high-grade sealable plastic bags can do the trick, however, ensure each device is bagged separately; that way if a leak happens, it does not impact all of your devices.

For tech that will stay in your home, make sure that they are either stored on the highest floor of your house or even in an ice chest/waterproof safe. If all else fails, performing a backup of all of your data onto the cloud or off-site storage area will ensure that your data is not entirely lost.

There are a large number of smartphone apps one can use as well to make this terrifying ordeal somewhat easier. Nextdoor, a geolocation app, connects other users who live nearby so that communication can be maintained concerning recent events, weather alerts, or checking on the safety of the neighborhood. Another great tool is the Federal Emergency Management Agency app. This application offers emergency information such as disaster preparedness tips and storm shelter locations. But what if the Internet goes down? By using Firechat, you can send free peer-to-peer messages without Internet or even cellular data access. Additionally, companies such as Facebook and Google have services that can help keep track of family members and ‘check in’ with their safety status and location.

Although these apps can do great things in the threat of a natural disaster, they do not offer any assistance if the power runs out. Making sure your devices are charged throughout the entire ordeal is vital. There are several things one can do to ensure their devices remain charged, such as by closing apps that are not necessary, turning the brightness down, and using power-saving or airplane mode. Although scrolling through Facebook might seem like a great idea when you are trapped in a home without TV or any sort of entertainment, the power it consumes makes viewing those memes not worth it (horrible I know). Several companies and organizations will tend to set up support facilities as well that will enable you to find a power outlet or other emergency supplies. You can also use gas generators to help maintain your charge, although make sure they are adequately ventilated. Finally, by using external power sources, such as power packs, you can take a few more selfies of you standing in front of Hurricane Florence.

I hope this information helps and thank you for your time. Stay safe!

Sources

Making the Most Of Your Technology During Hurricane Florence. Julia Jacobs – https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/13/us/apps-technology-hurricane-florence.html

https://nextdoor.com/

https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app

https://www.opengarden.com/firechat/

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