By Claudio Hidalgo, Sprint Region President, Florida, Puerto Rico & U.S. Virgin Islands
Disasters hit when we least expect them, and you can never be too prepared. In addition to having an emergency preparedness plan, it is important to have the right technology, accessories and apps to stay informed and connected in the wake of a disaster. While mobile technology should not replace your preparedness plan, it can be a useful supplement to stay informed, safe, and in touch with loved ones and response teams before, during and after a natural disaster hits.
As a leader in the telecommunications industry, Sprint has an obligation to provide its customers with the products and services they will need to keep them safe and connected in the event of a natural disaster. Sprint’s mobile devices, accessories, network reliability and Emergency Response Team are here to help when they are needed most.
Here are five mobile tips to help prepare you for a natural disaster:
- Save Your ICE Contacts. Update mobile address books with emergency contacts. Place the term, ICE, for “In Case of Emergency” next to the contact’s name in your phone. Make sure to also write down your emergency contact phone numbers on a separate piece of paper in the event that your mobile device loses power.
- Add Mobile Accessories To Your Disaster Kit. In addition to flashlights and first aid kits, make sure you are prepared to charge and repower your mobile devices in the event of lost electricity or if you need to contact a neighbor or loved one. Be sure to include items such as portable charging devices (car adapters, battery-powered chargers, etc.), waterproof cases and backup batteries. Store all technology items in a plastic, re-sealable bag and make sure everything is charged in advance. Sprint retail stores can provide all of these accessories and more. If you need to purchase any of these items or to charge your device, find the Sprint store nearest you.
- Turn On Your Push Alerts. If you have them turned off on your phone, be sure to enable your push notifications on your device, especially for weather, before a storm hits. Subscribe to text alert services from local or state governments to receive alerts in real -time that are applicable to your area. In the wake of anticipated disasters, Sprint also keeps their customers up-to-date with alerts and information via its social media channels. Be sure you have multiple ways to stay informed with current updates.
- Download Disaster Apps: Red Cross and FEMA both have downloadable apps for a number of different scenarios, such as Floods, Hurricanes, Wildfires, Tornadoes, Earthquakes, and more. Their apps also provide helpful resources for local area outreach, such as shelter finders and emergency meeting location information. These are helpful applications to have as a supplement to local push alerts.
- Conserve Mobile Energy: There are several ways to decrease the amount of energy your phone uses in order to conserve battery life and sustain your connectivity. Before a disaster strikes, reduce the brightness of your screen, close apps that you are not using and only call or text when it is necessary. Resist playing video games or streaming videos during this time. If you are having trouble getting a call through, wait at least 10 seconds and try again. Texts are less likely to receive network congestion after a disaster, so consider texting instead of calling when at all possible.
Whether you’re experiencing a tornado, flood, hurricane, fire, or any other disaster, Sprint is here to help. Sprint’s Emergency Response Team maintains a 24/7 hotline 365 days of the year. Our ERT hardened facilities, located in Irving, TX and Sterling, VA, serve as primary command centers and staging locations for rapid response deployment nationwide. Sprint ERT employees participate in 180 local, state and federal trainings every year, including customer-client specific trainings, to ensure that our staff is well-equipped to handle any kind of emergency situation outreach.
Sprint also provides several resources and additional tips on our website’sEmergency Information Center page. We do whatever it takes to make sure our customers stay safe and informed during a disaster, and we are prepared and ready to help you when it happens.