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This week has been quite crazy weather-wise. Who can forget the moving and shaking we felt on Tuesday afternoon thanks to one big earthquake. With the threat of the east coast being hit by Hurricane Irene, it looks like Mother Nature still has a few tricks up her sleeve.
The one thing I noticed after the DC quake hit our office, was that cell phones became incredibly useful. While service was extremely spotty and limited, most of us who felt the quake were able to use our phones, in one way or another, to get updates and contact loved ones.
So how can we use our phones before, during, and after an emergency or crisis? Check out the list below to see how you can be smarter and safer with your phone:
1. 112- The Emergency Number worldwide for mobile phones is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile or in a network jam similar to what was experienced by many after the quake, dial 112 and your phone will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you.
2. Store useful phone numbers – Check the numbers for your emergency contacts to make sure they’re up to date. Be sure to save the contact information for your local police and fire departments, as well as your utility companies.
3. Stay up to date via Twitter -I don't know about you, but our office used Twitter immediately following the earthquake to see what was going on. We weren't sure what had happened at first, but people were updating Twitter instantly across the East Coast about what they were experiencing.
4. Check in with Foursquare – If you can't call loved ones, you can use Foursquare to let them know where you are and that you are safe. Foursquare allows users to update various social networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc) with their check in status.
5. Bookmark useful mobile sites – If you have a internet access on your phone, take advantage of mobile websites for The National Weather Service (http://mobile.weather.gov), Center for Disease Control (http://m.cdc.gov), and FEMA (http://m.fema.gov). Even when cell phone services are down, you can still find yourself with decent data coverage.
6. Backup your battery – In cases of harsh weather, make sure to keep your cell phones charged up. In the case of lost power, have a solar charger on hand in your emergency kit.
These are just some simple tricks that can go a long way in a state of emergency. Let's all take the steps to be ready and protected for an emergency of any shape or size.
How did you use your cell phone during the earthquake?
How has your cell phone helped you in a crisis or emergency?
Share your comments below!