As Hurricane Irma maintains its Category 5 strength as it impacts parts of the Caribbean, now is an important time to stop and ensure you and your loved ones are prepared to stay connected if and when the superstorm makes landfall in the U.S.
The reliability of your wireless network is never more important than when a crisis strikes. That’s when a simple call or text message can keep you connected and be the most important communication you make in times of an emergency.
“We prepare year-round to keep you connected when you need it most,” said Sergei Mislevy, executive director for network assurance for Verizon Wireless. “Our network is designed with end-to-end reliability in mind – for individuals, businesses, emergency responders and everyone who needs connectivity when the unexpected happens.”
Here are a few things you can do to prepare when severe weather threatens.
- Charge your devices before a storm hits, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, DVD players, flashlights and radios; to preserve battery life, dim the background light on your screen and turn off background data applications or Wi-Fi search services
- Create a list of emergency phone numbers and email addresses, including police, fire and rescue agencies; power companies; insurance providers; and family, friends and co-workers. Program them into your phone, smartphone, tablet or laptop and also have a hard copy handy, someplace easily accessible
- Text, don’t call. When communicating with family during an emergency situation, opt for brief text messages rather than voice calls. Text messages are likely to get through more quickly in a crisis
- Program your smartphone to receive emergency alerts. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are free wireless notifications that are delivered to your mobile device as part of a public safety system
- Know your apps:
- Download weather applications and alerts that provide users with a variety of information such as radar images, forecasts and severe storm warnings
- Download apps and subscribe to alerts from aid and relief organizations such as the American Red Cross’ apps for first aid, hurricane and shelter, and the Commercial Mobile Alert System from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Use your free flashlight app. All smartphones have a free flashlight app in case the power goes out
- Backup your information on Verizon Cloud. Verizon Wireless offers backup assistance through the Verizon cloud to store your phone’s address book and contact information as well as pictures and other content on a secure server