Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Online Devices For Disasters

A new study by the Canadian Red Cross shows an increase in Canadians turning to online resources for information durring and after a disaster.  Various relief agencies as well as government recognize the potential of online resources to reach affected people to distribute information.  Email and text alerts play important roles, however Facebook remains the resource of choice with 61% of those using online platforms for information.  Email alerts come in second at 57% followed by text alerts at 34%.  Add all these up and we get 152%, which indicates that those receiving information via technology use tend to use multiple platforms.

With the majority of the population having a smart phone within reach 24/7, relying on these devices for information required that they be in service at all times.  Keeping them charged becomes an issue of utmost importance.  This is easily accomplished durring normal times with wall wart chargers.  Many public areas now provide public charging stations providing usb connections for charging devices.  Durring or after a disaster can be a challenge however as public utilities such as the power grid often fail.  Here are a few tips for keeping your smart phone charged at all times.

  1. Keep multiple wall wart chargers.  Have one at home for regular use as well as a spare.  And purchase another for use at the office and keep it there in a desk drawer, locker, oor other handy place.
  2. Carry a compatible usb cord for charging at public charge stations at all times in a pocket, purse, briefcase, or backpack.
  3. Keep a 12volt auto accessory charger in each vehicle.  Leave it in the glove box or console storage at all times.
  4. Carry a small battery pack charger.  These can be found at discount stores such as walmart and are rechargeable via usb port.  Always top them off after charging your device with them.
  5. Consider a larger battery pack for charging devices that includes a solar panel for self charging.  The power may be out for days after a disaster and these portable power packs offer a way to generate the relatively small amount of power needed to keep electronics charged.  Some also include a hand crank dynamo, which can be a bonus.
Remember to keep your battery at half charge at all times, just as you keep your car gas tank half full.  It may be some time before information flows and a low battery shutdown can mean you miss vital news.

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