Tomorrow is the official start of the 2013 hurricane season, and according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center it's going to be a doozey. With an expected three to six major hurricanes and more than a dozen named storms this year, it is important for folks to prepare early and make emergency plans now. Don't wait until a storm is barreling down to figure out your plans.
Signup for cellphone and smartphone emergency alerts for your community.
Download the American Red Cross Hurricane app for smartphones. In addition to hurricane preparedness tips, the app can locate nearby shelters and provides a way for loved ones to share that they are safe, without burdening the overtaxed cell towers in the aftermath of an emergency.
Buy and fully-charge extra batteries for your phone now, because after the storm hits is too late. If you’re unable to remove your battery, purchase a backup power bank to keep your phone charged.
Know how to use your car charger safely, as another option to power your cellphone or smartphone. Never run your car in a closed garage. Like extra phone batteries, now is the time to buy a phone car charger, not during the storm.
Decide if a mobile hotspot is right for you. Whether using a stand-alone mobile hotspot device or a compatible smartphone, creating a mobile hotspot means you can connect all your WiFI-capable devices to the internet through your wireless carrier's network. Getting your tablet, laptop, or gaming system online might just be a relief in trying times.
After the storm, remember that emergency responders and folks in terrible situations are all relying on a potentially jammed cellular network. If you are safe, tell your family and friends via text message, which uses much less network capacity and battery than a phone call. The American Red Cross Hurricane app or social network apps (but not the social network websites) are other great choices to get the word out.
Enjoy the summer, and remember to make your mobile plan now for hurricanes later.
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