In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon terror attacks, it’s an important time to do some basic disaster preparedness no matter where you live in the United States.
Being prepared for an emergency is something everybody hears about, but how do you do it? Ready.gov has a most basic list of what you need to have on hand:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishables that do not require cooking
- Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, plus extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First Aid kit
- Fill the bathtubs in your home with water for drinking or to use to flush the toilet
In additon, Wired had the following suggestions if you’re in a disaster and want to communicate to loved ones.
- Don’t call. Leave the lines open for first responders.
- Text. AT&T recommends using text messages rather than voice calls to avoid getting stymied by network congestion–the smaller data packets can often sneak through while the larger voice files get stuck.
- Use Apps. While cell networks and phone lines are generally limited to one communication protocol, apps like GroupMe, Twitter, or Facebook Messenger can reach out and touch in several different ways.
If your’e the loved one and people are trying to reach you:
- Get to a hardwired data connection. If you’re in an affected area, a cable internet connection might be your best bet–these fatter pipes are made to handle larger surges of traffic, and have a decent track record of withstanding worst case scenarios.
- You tell us! Email your mom, update your Facebook status, tweet your condition and whereabouts. Whether you’re totally fine or in desperate need of help, let the viral nature of the internet work for you. You’d be surprised how many people are worried.
- Update your voicemail message. If you can make only one call, make it to your voicemail. Change your outgoing message, so when folks try to reach you and the call goes straight to voicemail, they still get updated on your status.
It’s no fun to be unprepared. These are simple things you can do that require minimal money and minimal investment of time.