Internet and Mobile phones
The internet including online news sites and social media platforms is an effective way to gather emergency information and to let family and friends know you are safe.
Additional tips when using your mobile phone during or after a disaster:
- Keep your contacts updated across all channels, including phone, email and social media. This will make it easy to reach the right people quickly to get information and supply updates. Consider creating a group list of your top contacts.
- Learn how to send updates via text message and the internet from your mobile phone to your contacts and social media sites 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. A car phone charger is also important to be able to charge your phone if you lose power at your home.
- Download or program an "In Case of Emergency" application into your mobile phone so emergency personnel can contact those people for you if you are unable to use your phone. Let your In Case of Emergency contacts know that they are programmed into your phone and inform them of any medical issues or other special needs.
- If you have a traditional landline phone, keep at least one non-cordless phone in your home, it will work even without power.
- If you are evacuated and have call-forwarding on your home phone, forward your home phone number to your mobile number.
- Prepare a family contact sheet. This should include at least one out-of-province contact who is better able to reach family members in an emergency.
- Have a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio available with spare batteries.
- Charge all of your phones, notebooks and tablets prior to any storm. If there are power outages these devices may be your method to stay in touch and keep informed.
- Use your phone sparingly and only use text messages to communicate with friends and family. Send a text as soon as you can to friends and family stating "We are OK, don't call, we will call you".
- Keep any calls brief. Convey only vital information.
- If you are unsuccessful in completing a call using your mobile phone, wait ten seconds before redialling to help reduce network congestion.
- Conserve your mobile phone battery by reducing the brightness of your screen, placing your phone in airplane mode and/or closing applications you are not using which draw power. Battery life is critical when dealing with a prolonged power outage.
- If you lose power, you can charge your mobile phone in your car. Ensure your car is in a well-ventilated place (remove it from the garage). Do not go to your car until any danger has passed. You can also listen to your car radio for important news alerts.
- After a disaster, resist using your mobile phone to watch streaming videos, download music or play video games, all of which can add to network congestion as well as using up battery life.
- Remember, use text messaging, email, or social media instead of making voice calls on your cellphone to avoid tying up voice networks. Data-based services like texts and emails are less likely to experience network congestion. You can also use social media to post your status.
Store your important documents such as personal and financial records on a secure flash drive that you can keep readily available. This flash drive can be kept on a key ring so it can be accessed from any computer, anytime, anywhere. Remember important documents such as:
- Personal and property insurance.
- Identification such as driver's licence or passport (for family members, as well).
- Banking information.
Store your pet's veterinary medical documents online.
- Consider an information digital implant.
- Keep a current photo of your pet in your online kit to aid in identification if you are separated.
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance. Create a household emergency plan to record how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in different situations.
- Make sure to share this document with family members, friends and co-workers who will also need to access it in an emergency or crisis.
- When handling personal and sensitive information always keep your data private and share it only with those who will need access in case of emergency.
- Sign up for direct deposit and electronic banking through your financial institution so you can access your payroll funds and make electronic payments regardless of location.