Get Your Mobile Device Disaster Ready

Mobile devices can be lifelines following extreme weather such as an earthquake or hurricane.

Home and safety preparations for those in a severe storm’s path should include making mobile devices like smartphones disaster-ready.

“As soon as a hurricane or severe storm becomes a threat, boarding windows, and stocking food and water supplies are priority one,” says Elizabeth Gulick, executive director of Catastrophe Operations at USAA. “But taking a couple minutes to update your mobile devices with key information can provide an invaluable lifeline and peace of mind in its aftermath.”

Before, During and After a Storm

Extreme weather can disrupt communication channels, making mobile devices essential tools to keep in touch with family, as well as with response and recovery efforts. USAA offers these tips to make your mobile device “disaster-ready.”

Create a texting phone group. Create a network of contacts, so you can reach them quickly after any sort of extreme weather. Texting may be the only available form of communication.

Set up emergency text alerts. Access to television or radio could be limited. By setting up emergency text alerts with your city, county or local weather channel, you can increase the chance that you’ll stay connected wherever you are.

Utilize mobile banking apps. Many banks have developed apps for smartphones that allow people to move money, pay bills and deposit checks from their phones. Having ready access to your funds can save a lot of headaches in the storm’s aftermath.

Take advantage of insurance apps. Many insurance companies, including USAA, allow their customers to file claims using their smartphones to quickly start the recovery process.

Download emergency service apps. Emergency service apps will allow you to access important resources, such as the American Red Cross.

Have a car phone charger and spare battery. If power is out for an extended period, your car will be a valuable source of energy. There are also a growing number of solar phone chargers available such as CNET’s review of the Solio Charger.

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