I think it’s safe to say that most people today use a mobile phone, cable phone, and the Internet to communicate – at least those people reading this email. So as we prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, don’t forget to consider back up for your communication needs. Here are some things to think about:
Internet – If your internet goes down, do you have a backup system? Most mobile providers like Verizon and ATT offer Mobile Wifi devices, which allow you to create your own wireless hotspot should you lose your cable or DSL. These devices are inexpensive and price plans generally start at around $50.
Landlines – Most everyone has a cell phone. Make sure it’s charged. In fact, you might want to keep it on the charger as the storm approaches so if the electricity goes out, you have a full battery. You can also use a car charger. These usually cost about $20 and plug into the car’s “cigarette” lighter.
iPads and other Tablets – In case of power outages you may lose access to your desktop computer or laptop due to no/poor battery life. By purchasing a tablet with internal wireless, you can have a device that is internet ready, has radio capability, a long-life battery, and you can charge up cheaply by using a car charger.
Radio: You might want to consider purchasing a Red Cross Emergency preparedness radio. These radios have a rechargeable battery, plus a compartment for AAA batteries, plus a “crank” for a quick charge. The new version has a USB too so you can do a quick charge of a mobile phone. Home Depot and Lowe’s usually stock these, as well as many local offices of the Red Cross. Also make sure you have extra batteries for your radio and other devices.
And finally, here’s a good preparedness checklist from the Red Cross too.