Natural disasters and emergencies can happen at any moment. September is National Preparedness Month and it’s a good time to make sure you and your family are prepared for anything and everything.
One simple way is to turn your smartphone into a trusted advisor before and during severe weather events. While we can’t (yet) control the weather, we can at least use our phones to stay in the know when severe weather strikes – and, of course, to inform us if we need to reroute our road trip away from a storm.
Our team of tech experts pulled together a few helpful tips to help when the uncontrollable weather comes knocking.
Tip 1: Stay connected to stay informed
One of the most important things to do is to make sure you have enough battery power to keep you connected. This will be especially helpful if severe weather causes a power outage.
How to make your battery last even longer:
- Keep your phone out of direct sunlight and away from intense cold.
- Turn down your screen brightness as low as you can while still seeing the screen.
- Turn off features like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi if you’re not using them.
- Don’t wait for your battery to completely die. Charge whenever it’s convenient.
- Flip on Low Power Mode if the battery is draining too fast.
Tip 2: Set up push alerts to get severe emergency updates
Don’t worry about overlooking these alerts. The loud noise and vibration will definitely get your attention.
Here’s how to get set up weather alerts on your phone:
By default, this option is turned on, but can be disabled or verified by going to Settings > Notifications > Emergency Alerts.
Settings > More > Cell Broadcasts (may be under Wireless Networks section) > enable / disable Extreme Alerts and Severe Alerts.
Tip 3: Download a few apps to stay on top of weather conditions
There’s hundreds of weather apps available that offer a bit of everything including from snow report, UV indexes and live radar. Most of the apps are free and offer push notifications during weather warnings and watches. Many local TV stations offer apps to stream severe weather coverage. We suggest you download a few and find the one that works best for your needs. Here’s a couple to test out to get started:
Accuweather – This app uses crowdsourcing to keep you in the know by allowing users to share weather conditions others nearby. It also provides minute-to-minute rain forecasts for the next two hours based on your current location.
MyWarn – Location-based app that constantly monitors the latest tornado, severe thunderstorm and flash flood watches and warnings from the National Weather Service. The app instantaneously notifies you of critical NWS alerts wherever you are.
Monster Guard – App designed by the American Red Cross to teach kids how to be prepared for real-life emergencies through a fun game.
Keep in mind, while our phones are becoming the remote control for our lives, they still can’t control crazy weather. But they are a great first step in staying informed (with very little effort on our part!) in case severe weather strikes.
Want more tips to help prepare your family in case of an emergency or natural disaster? If you are enrolled in your phone carrier’s protection and support program, you may already have unlimited access to our tech experts who can help you learn, grow and do more with your technology!