Despite some of the negative images that `doomsday survivalist’ type TV shows have fostered, Ready.gov, FEMA, the HHS, and the CDC all promote the idea that everyone should be prepared to deal with a variety of emergencies and disasters.
They know that every year tens of thousands of people across the nation are forced to deal with house fires, floods, severe storms, and medical emergencies. And the potential exists for even larger disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, and even a pandemic.
Being better prepared - as an individual, family, and community - can save lives and reduce misery.
This year, with the rapid proliferation of `smart phones’ & tablets, the focus is on incorporating these technologies into preparedness.
Led by FEMA's Ready campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps and the Ad Council, this year's emphasis includes integrating technology into individuals, families and businesses preparedness plans. A 2012 Nielson report revealed that nearly 55 percent of mobile phone owners in the United States own smartphones. As a simple resolution, Ready is asking all smartphone owners to turn the technology in their purses and pockets into a life-saving tool during and after an emergency or disaster.
Below are additional ways the Ready campaign recommends implementing technology into your emergency plans:
- Learn how to send updates via text and internet from your mobile phone to your contacts and social channels in case voice communications are not available;
- Store your important documents such as personal and financial records in the cloud, in a secure and remote area, or on a flash or jump drive that you can keep readily available so they can be accessed from anywhere; and
- Create an Emergency Information Document by using Ready's Family Emergency Plan template in Google Docs (use Google Chrome to view) or by downloading the Ready Family Emergency Plan to record your emergency plans.
- Download the Resolve 2B Ready 2013 Toolkit for tips and actions you can take.
A good starting place is FEMA’s App – available for Android, Blackberry, & Apple - which they describe as:
Government disaster response at the touch of a button. Learn how to respond to disasters, keep your family safe, apply for assistance, and help others in case of floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorism, or other disasters. We continue to add new relevant information, in both English and Spanish, working to ensure that Americans have easy access to the tools they need to prepare for and, when needed, recover from a disaster in their community. Future enhancements include the ability to check on the status of an application and update an existing application.
To become better prepared as an individual, family, business owner, or community requires more than just downloading an app, so I would invite you visit the following preparedness sites to learn the basics.
AMERICAN RED CROSS http://www.redcross.org/
And finally, some of my own preparedness articles may be of interest: