National Preparedness Month Tech Readiness for Your Home
September is the start of National Preparedness Month, and it’s important to recognize the significance of being well-equipped to face unpredictable weather. Incidents of severe weather have increased in recent years. For Illinoisans, severe weather impacts can be varied – from tornadoes to flooding to snowstorms. When thinking of fortifying the home for inclement weather, tech essentials are often overlooked. According to Climate Central, over the last 20 years weather-related events accounted for more than 80 percent of power outages in the U.S.** No matter where you live, it is likely your ability to stay connected has been impacted by storms or other weather conditions.
Here are some simple ways you can use technology to prepare for and stay informed during a weather-related event in your area:
Charge Batteries: We have become very reliant on technologies that require power like mobile devices, tablets, and laptops. Luckily, today there are back-up power sources available that can help keep these devices up and running even if the power is out. If you don’t have one already, look into a back-up battery or solar charger for your mobile device and essential electronics. You can also purchase a car adaptor that allows you to quickly and easily recharge devices in your car.
Utilize Apps and Digital Tools: It can be helpful to take a few moments to set yourself up for success digitally. Keep records of where important documents are in your home, save helpful links you may need if a bad storm hits like your local radio station or community website, and save/identify your emergency contacts in your mobile device. Download useful mobile apps like FEMA, which provides updates on local weather.
Prepare Back-Up Connections: Being connected to news as well as your loved ones during a local crisis like a weather event, has never been more important. If your internet provider offers a back-up connectivity option, like Xfinity, make sure your device is charged and has a strong cellular connection in your home. Xfinity just launched its Storm-Ready WiFi device that can provide 4 hours of connectivity in the event the power goes out during a storm or outage.
Track Your Most Treasured Items: Storms can unexpectedly gain strength as they move across water or land. If you’re worried about potentially becoming separated from your most treasured personal items – your daughter’s favorite stuffed animal, a family heirloom – or even your pet – you can place a digital tracker like a Tile or Apple Air Tag on your pets collar or your personal item so you can monitor its location and ensure you stay close.