Tell Us Your Technology Tips for Preparedness
Have you ever used your smartphone in an emergency and learned some best practices?
Do you store your important contact information and family emergency plan in the cloud in case you cannot obtain a physical copy?
Do you share emergency tips on social media like Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest?
Did you communicate with your friends during a disaster such as Sandy?
We invite you to share!
Our CERT team has done several things electronically to prepare for any emergency situation. We have transferred all of our documentation to Dropbox, this way we will always have access to our documents, such as call out lists, documentation and forms for all activities (drills, seminars, on site rehab and support for our firefighters, etc.) We have also set up a program on our smart phones where we can communicate with one another as a group like a radio but it is on our smart phones. It is called Zello We are also in the process of setting up a series of training exercises with our team and other CERT teams in our Tri-county (Broward, Palm Beach and Dade counties) area to develop a more unified force to help our communities to be more resilient and self-sufficient in times of a disaster. The more that we prepare and pool our resources, assets and personnel the less we will become dependent on help and resources outside of the South Florida area. Also the stronger and more organized we become will help our State as a whole because we will be able to help out in other areas of the state if needed.
I have used my smartphone to be weather aware, with a variety of different apps such as Swackett, Ready.GA.gov, and ICE Standard. I don't use the Cloud as I have no understanding or education on it at this time.
Facebook is a new program for me and as everyone who knows me and my involvement of the Disability Community and Emergency Preparedness ...they have come to rely on my postings in severe weather situations. (I also do these postings on GetReadyGwinnett and some community members have given me feedback finding them helpful
I have been through a hurricane with no electrical power for over week. Here's some of the technology things we found/learned were helpful:
- Always keep a non-battery operated phone in your kit. When power goes out..you can hook that phone to the phone box on the outside of the house and still have access to phone lines.
- keep your computer battery back-ups in working order...they can be used to recharge your phone and other computer equipment until power comes back on or they are drained.
- Make sure your generator has a variety of plugs which enable you to charge a variety of items...not just appliances.
- Occasionally you can find a small refrigerator that fits in the car and can charge off the car battery.
- Always charge all your computer/phone/etc to 100% before a severe situation. Then you don't have to be as immediately concerned with access to power.
I SUGGEST THAT A PARAMETER (3 BLOCKS) BE SET AROUND ALL HOSPITALS WITH INTAKE TRIAGE AREAS AT KEY LOCATIONS TO EVALUATE INJURED. ONLY MAJOR INJURED WILL BE MOVED INSIDE HOSPITAL. ALL MEDICAL CLINICS WILL ACT AS FIRST AID AREAS AND ALL MAJOR PARKING LOTS ALSO WILL BE FIRST AID AREAS. EMERGENCY ALERT SIRENS/COMMUNICATION TOWERS WITH BACKUP POWER PLACED THROUGHOUT CITY. "EYE IN SKY" SATELITE SHOULD BE POSITIONED OVER DISASTER SO FIRST RESPONDERS CAN HAVE MEANS TO COMMUNICATE. PORTABLE FIRE PUMPS AND HOSES IN EACH COMMUNITY USING SWIMMING POOL WATER TO PUT OUT FIRES. ALL MAIN WATER TANKS TO HAVE EARTHQUAKE SHUTOFF VALVES.SPIGGATE VALVES INSTALLED ON TANKS SO TO FILL JUGS. ALL FREWAYS TO ALLOW BOTH SIDES FOR EVACUATION OUT OF CITY. CITY AND PRIVATE BUSES,LIMOS ETC TO BE USED TO EVACUATE CITIZENS.BACKUP GENERATORS INSTALLED AT EVERY GAS STATION(2013 NEW 2013 LAW WILL PAY FOR HALF THE COST) 4K GRAY WATER STORAGE TANKS TO WATER PARKS CAN BE USED FOR DRINKING WATER..CARGO TANKERS CONVERTED INTO DESALINIZATION SHIPS AND MEDICAL SHIPS TO CONVERGE ALONG COAST TO ASSIST AS WELL AS ADJACENT STATES TO SEND ASISTANCE.AS WILL CITIES NORTH AND SOUTH. MORE LATER.
WHAT IS YOUR PLAN IF A 8.0 EARTHQUAKE HITS AT 3AM ?
RUN OUTSIDE IN DARK AND HELP OTHERS20%(1)
STOP DROP AND HOLD THEN EXIT HOME AFTER STOPS60%(3)
CALL FRIEND ON NON WORKING PHONE0%(0)
DIAL 911 TO INFORM FIRE DEPARTMENT OF EARTHQUAKE0%(0)
LIGHT A MATCH TO CHECK FOR GAS LEAKS0%(0)
GO INTO DEEP SHOCK AND WANDER AIMLESLY20%(1)
This poll closed on Feb 25th 2013
I've been writing about technology & preparedness for my blog at work:
And we also just did a podcast with a librarian who specializes in disaster info, and she gave a ton of great tips about using your tech gear to prepare (and preparing your stuff so it's there when you need it!).
I hope these are helpful!
The Disaster Distress Helpline, a program of SAMHSA, encourages you to 'prepare for coping'! Program the DDH 1-800-985-5990 into your cell phone / land line address book for easy, 24/7 access in case you feel distress- like anxiety, fear, frustration -before, during or after any disaster. Also, offer to program the number into the phones of loved ones who may need help doing so, such as frail elderly. Before, during or after disasters, short of needing emergency 9-1-1 response, sometimes when we feel overwhelmed a phone call to a crisis hotline can help us feel calmer and more in control so that we can be better able to prepare, respond or move forward on the path to recovery following a disaster. Learn more about the Disaster Distress Helpline at http://disasterdistress.samhsa.gov!
I created a program to turn computers in the Chicago area that are not being used into real time screensavers that in one minute inform the viewer of what’s happening in the area. The most unique feature is that the program automatically updates itself while the program is running. When the information is being displayed, the software searches for the latest data available. Therefore the user gets up to the minute safety information without having to stop and download files, or stop and restart itself. See http://headsuplemont.com/products/products.htm
I would like to put them in all government builds with high traffic flow like Schools, libraries, courts, etc, to protect people from dangerous situations. These situations can be severe weather like tornadoes, or an armed individual. I was hoping to find someone in FEMA to help get this program started.
Practical tips for everyone come in thinking about the most basic things that people are reminded to do.
1. Cycle your liquid supplies. For your water, plastic containers do leach over extendde periods of time. Change out your drinking water at least every 6 months. Gasoline (ONLY USE APPROVED CONTAINERS) can begin to convert to complex hydrocarbons over time, degrading the octane levels which can damage carburators and other delicate working parts. Rotate at least every Spring & Fall.
2. Food stocks go stale, best to rotate these as well. Be especially aware of infant foods. Consider the MRE route. Some are better than others. It's best to sample and choose things that everyone in your household can eat. Be aware of any fussy eater's needs. Pay particular attention to expiration dates. Think like a grocery store, rotate stock supplies, first in, first out.
3. Medicines. Keeping a minimum of 3 days dosage on your medication is reccommended. Most medicines lose their efficacy over time, so it is importnt to know wich medicnes turn at what intervals. Plan ahead, as some medications, especially those prescribed for pain are strictly controlled substances. Work with your physician to ensure that you have what medicines that you absolutely need during the time that you may be unable to seek renewals (drug stores probably won't be open, and that is IF you can see a doctor to get prescriptions). Don't wait - this is an important area..
Google Public Alerts provides disaster alerts and locations in real time.
American Lung Association's "State of the Air" app informs about regional air quality in real time and how to respond to it. This is important to anyone with respiratory conditions and the public in general if the air quality becomes toxic due to chemical release.
"HealthMap" app informs about regional disease outbreaks
Thanks for the tip on Google public alerts! I never knew that existed. This is also a great thread as we have become too dependent on our technology. I live in Bethlehem, PA and when hurricane Sandy went through, it knocked out the power for the majority of the developments in my immediate area. Fortunately we didn't lose power but many of my friends and family did. It was amazing to me to see how people floundered not from the loss of power but from the loss of their technology - mainly not having internet access or access to their legal stuff which they all had in order on their hard drives. Even the cloud solution is not a good plan. The cloud only works if your system goes down, but what if the entire system is down? Also, the cloud is open to hacking and you can still lose your critical files. It is always best to have a separate hard drive that you periodically back-up and maintain that is not routinely connected to your system and stored in a different location. Trust me, all it takes is one hard drive failure and for you to lose some of your family pictures to learn your lesson. Also, maintain physical copies of critical documents in a safe location. Technology is a wonderful thing and it has certainly made our lives so much easier. Just don't rely on it and have a proper back-up plan and you will be fine.
Charles McKelvey, Bethlehem, PA
We have build on work done in New Mexico and Texas to create IOS and Android apps that help individuals with AFN share basic information with first responders. If an individual or a first responder has the app, they can use it to learn how to more effectively help the individual in an emergency, find commonly used acronyms, and identify local (Hawaii) resources and services that can provide additional support. AFN-Tips can be downloaded to a smartphone, ipad, or tablet. The identical tool can also be found on a mobile site at cds.hawaii.edu/tips.
I'm a BIG fan of Cozi! (Cozi is a free app and website that helps you manage your busy family calendar. Plus it keeps track of everything from school schedules to sports activities, meals, grocery lists, and chores, all in one place) In addition to a shared, family calendar I can create and assign family members to use various checklist, such as my Boy Scout camping checklist, hiking checklist, first aide supply list, emergency supplies checklist, not to mention my CERT checklist. Comes in handy when I'm out shopping, or packing for a scout or CERT activity.
You might say I am at my age 66 stuck in the 80's . I have a 80's Gibson guitar , still like the outlaws music , and still use my CB radio. My cell is becuse my wife wants to find me at now time . Cell phones as well as the internet if there is a stom that wipes out power , will not work . The CB will work .
Mike, if power is out due to a storm and your phones don't work, won't that also impact your CB (assuming you have a base station). If using from your vehicle, then why not use the phone? The concern with a CB is that you don't know who is on the other end, if anyone, and it is essentially a line of sight device so if no one is around, you won't be heard.
Ham is better and you can get them as mobile devices too. Also learn what you cell carrier is doing for disaster preparedness and response. How will they respond, what assets do they have, where will they e to help you connect, charge your device, etc.
You bring up a great point. In Nevada, we tend to take the weather for granted, so preparedness is not top of our list. When we travel last month, we are not prepared to deal with bad weather situations in other parts of the country. We had the hardest time surviving, We rented a car, and forgot to bring a phone charger with us, and to make matters worse we were stuck in the snow, gas running low, and body temperature dipping, lucky for us some locals drove by, dug us out and let us use there fully charged phone. We're laughing now, but we realized that we forgot how to survive cold weather.