Staying Connected: Using Your Mobile Phone to Prepare for a Hurricane

Although there is no active hurricane threat for Louisiana at this time. There are still some preparations you can do in advance with the device in your pocket.

NEW ORLEANS – Although there is no active hurricane threat in southeast Louisiana at this time, we are still in the heart of hurricane season.

And there are some preparations you can make ahead of time with the device in your pocket.

We spoke with Kourtney Garret-Blossom, AT&T Sales Manager for Louisiana, to give you some ways to use your smartphone to prepare for the weather.

“Technology is there to help us in situations like this and in times of disaster,” Garrett-Blossom said.

  1. Your camera phone is your best friend

Take photos of important documents and save them to the cloud or to your notes app. You can include insurance documents, important medical information, and animal records.

Then use your camera phone to document your home. Take photos or videos of everything before the storm, as you may need them later for insurance, especially if you recently updated or remodeled.

Then, stock up on selfies. Garrett-Blossom said having up-to-date photos of yourself and your family on hand could help if someone is looking for you after a hurricane.

There are many apps that we all use daily to make life more convenient. When a hurricane hits, be sure to stay up to date with the latest news and forecast models. We recommend downloading the WWL-TV app and ensuring push notifications are enabled.

Another great app to have in your digital hurricane kit is the Google Drive app. Use it to upload photos or documents you saved earlier and share them with family members who might need access.

The “Find My” app, available on Apple devices, is also a good way to track family and friends who may be evacuated during the storm. It allows iPhones to see each other’s locations, with permission from both parties.

The Google Maps app on your phone will also allow you to save map areas for offline use. This is handy if you plan to evacuate and don’t know the area, or if you lose cell service or Wi-Fi but still need to get around. You can find a full tutorial on how to do this here.

You can also sign up for alerts through NOLA Ready to ensure you have the information you need. Simply text “NOLAREADY” to 77295 to receive emergency alerts via text, email or phone call.

As the storm approaches, be sure to charge your devices. Garrett-Blossom recommends having an external battery or charger on hand that can power devices long after the lights have gone out.

Before a hurricane hits, make sure your phone data is backed up so you can access it from another device if needed.

She also said that if cell towers stop working after a hurricane, you can log into your phone’s settings and switch to “WiFi Calling.” But remember that texting might be more effective and leave phone lines for emergencies.

“If something should happen, it’s always better to text rather than call. And the reason we recommend that is if you’re making too many calls, those emergency calls that really need to go through – so we can reach loved ones or people who may be stuck or need help , it’s going to make it a little harder for those calls to go through,” Garrett-Blossom said.

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About Ferdinand Caldwell

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