It’s probably not coincidence that September is National Preparedness Month, as it coincides with the peak of hurricane season. In fact, Norbert is now affecting the Baja peninsula and causing problems as far north as San Diego. All of this means it’s a very good time to talk about what residents need to know in case the worst happens.
Of course all of this relies on you having either power, or at least a cell connetion — neither of which can be guaranteed if a bad storm strikes. However, while the power grid may not stay online, phones generally do.
The first thing to look at is HelpBridge, a mobile app available for Windows, Android and iOS. It will send a message to a pre-determined group, so you can let friends and family know you’re safe. “Whether a daily situation, such as a flat tire, or in response to a natural disaster, the app uses email, texting, Twitter and Facebook to let others know whether you need help, or are okay. Providing your GPS coordinates is an option, too. HelpBridge also provides ways people can help others through donations, text-to-give, and volunteer opportunities”, Microsoft explains.
The company points out the Skype can also be useful, as cell networks can become overwhelmed during disasters. Microsoft also claims that customers should set up a OneDrive account and store important information such birth certificates and other essential files. Finally, the software giant mentions Health Vault for storing medical information.
All of this is useful information and perhaps wise advice to follow. One thing that should be added, which has nothing to do with Microsoft, is to purchase a battery charger for phones and tablets. The larger the mAh rating the better off you’ll be, and the devices are not expensive.