With 2020 turning out differently than most have expected, one thing rings true – being prepared for any and all situations is increasingly important. September is National Preparedness Month, a full month dedicated to encouraging the public to prepare for local disaster risks and unplanned emergencies.
Whether it’s using your phone as a tool in preparing for a natural disaster or in the unfortunate event that your phone is lost or stolen (containing highly sensitive information), having it equipped for any situation is critical. With today’s technology, phones can help us prepare for upcoming weather events, store important information, stay updated about local news and remain connected with loved ones.
“Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count,” said Nathan Waddell, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in the Mid-South. “At U.S. Cellular, we are dedicated to keeping the community connected when it matters most. We want to help families stay calm and connected while preparing for the unexpected.”
U.S. Cellular suggests the following tips on how to prep your phone to be ready for anything:
Routine Steps to Stay Prepared
- Set up your phone. Save emergency numbers and email addresses in your device(s) for police, fire, hospital, schools and other essential contacts. Designate two “in case of emergency” (ICE) contacts: one local and one out of town, and keep up-to-date “before” photos or videos of the rooms and exterior of your property on your phone for insurance purposes. It’s also a good idea to have photos of important documents on your phone in case your home is damaged or inaccessible.
- Back up regularly. It’s critical to back up your smartphone on a regular basis, so if it gets stolen or damaged – you can still retrieve important data, photos and contacts. That way if the phone is not recoverable, at least this important information is saved.
- Download important apps. Be notified when hazardous weather is approaching, learn first aid with step-by-step videos and locate the nearest shelters with apps like the American Red Cross or FEMA app. It’s also helpful to have apps like the Flashlight app in case electricity goes out or the Facebook app to notify your loved ones you’re safe.
- Insure your device. When the unexpected happens, U.S. Cellular offers Device Protection+ that protects your phone from when it is damaged, lost or stolen and also comes with tools to back up data and protect against Malware. If you purchased device protection from your wireless carrier, visit your local store or the company’s website to submit a claim.
Long-Term Steps to Stay Prepared
- Make a plan. Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes so it’s important to plan in advance. Discuss how you will contact each other, how you will get to a safe place, where you will meet if you can’t go home and what you will do in specific situations like a tornado or fire.
- Pay attention to cell phone alerts. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are a part of a national public safety system that allows customers with WEA-capable mobile devices to receive notifications about local emergency situations. WEAs warn the public of an impending natural or human-made disaster and can provide immediate, life-saving information.
- Prepare an emergency kit. If disaster strikes, you might not have access to food, water or electricity. Your emergency kit should include items such as a three-day supply of food and water, flashlights with extra batteries, first-aid kit, and portable charging devices for your electronics. Additional supplies families may want to consider are prescription medications, infant formula and diapers, pet food and cash. Remember to check your supplies every few months and replace expired items.
For more information on how U.S. Cellular is helping its customers prepare for emergencies, please visit their website at uscellular.com/support/disaster-response.
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