FEMA Offers Internet and Text Messaging Tips for Emergencies

According to The American Red Cross, the Internet – including online news sites and social media platforms – is the third most popular way for Americans to gather emergency information and let their loved ones know they are safe. Make sure you are tech ready during an emergency with these tips from FEMA.

Keep your contacts updated across all of your channels, including phone, email and social media. This will make it easy to reach out to the right people quickly to get information and supply updates. Consider creating a group list serve of your top contacts.

  • 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. Text messages and the internet often have the ability to work in the event of a phone service disruption.
  • Keep extra batteries for your phone in a safe place or purchase a solar-powered or hand crank charger. These chargers are good emergency tools to keep your laptop and other small electronics working in the event of a power outage. If you own a car, purchase a car phone charger because you can charge your phone if you lose power at your home.
  • Program “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) contacts into your cell phone so emergency personnel can contact those people for you if you are unable to use your phone. Let your ICE contacts know that they are programmed into your phone and inform them of any medical issues or other special needs you may have.
  • If you have a traditional landline (non-broadband or VOIP) phone, keep at least one non-cordless receiver in your home because it will work even if you lose power.
  • If you are evacuated and have call-forwarding on your home phone, forward your home phone number to your cell phone number.
  • If you do not have a cell phone, keep a prepaid phone card to use if needed during or after a disaster.
  • Prepare a family contact sheet. This should include at least one out-of-town contact that may be better able to reach family members in an emergency.
  • Have a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio or television available (with spare batteries).

You can also get text messages from FEMA sent to your phone. To sign up, text PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA). You can unsubscribe at any time by texting STOP to 43362 (4FEMA). Text messaging and data rates apply to this service.

Click here to learn more from FEMA about using technology to prepare for disasters and emergencies.

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