A tech checklist for the dark side of summer weather

A tech checklist for the dark side of summer weather

Summer is now in full swing, but peak weather has arrived in many parts of the country, along with holiday trips, camping and lazy days. If you live in an area where these conditions are likely to occur, it helps to be prepared. Here are some tips to help you use your technology in major weather moments — sometimes, even when power and cell service are unstable.

Getting accurate local weather information helps you stay ahead of nearby hazards like hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or wildfires. Setting alerts on Apple’s default Weather app, the Google app, or a specific weather app keeps you informed. bookmarking government web pages in your browser – such as for National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationThe National Hurricane Center Or US Air Quality Index — Good for manual checking of current conditions.

Your phone can also receive wireless emergency alert From authorized federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officials. Check your notification settings to make sure these are enabled.

The American Red Cross also has free emergency The app, which allows you to track 40 types of hazards including earthquakes, tornadoes, extreme heat, hurricanes, wildfires and more, with alerts in English and Spanish. Emergency, which consolidates information from older Red Cross apps, also provides checklists, first aid tips, information about nearby shelters, and downloadable guides that work offline.

If the power goes out, you’ll need alternative ways to charge your phone—such as a solar panel, a power cable for your car’s 12-volt dashboard outlet, or a hand-cranked charger. The New York Times-owned product review site Wirecutter has guides to alternative chargers, emergency radios, and other equipment to help you out during hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes.

Losing your physical wallet in a disaster can be highly disruptive, but if you have credit or debit cards saved in a digital wallet app on your phone, you have a backup for businesses with contactless payment terminals. Digital versions of your health care card and driver’s license may also be an option. (Four states now offer official digital driver’s licenses or state ID cards.) Apple And Google Wallet Apps, But More Are Coming, Including New York; Some states even have their own digital ID apps.)

Almost every major insurance company has its own mobile app which you can use to file a claim, get roadside assistance and check policy documents. If you haven’t installed your provider’s app and set up your account on your phone, do so before using it.

And if you’re caught in air-travel disruptions, your airline’s app helps with flight rebooking.

Sealed plastic boxes and fireproof chests can help protect important documents and photographs from the elements. However, digitizing content—and storing it in the cloud on a secure server—gives you a virtual backup out of nature’s reach. Many multifunctional printers include a scanner, but you can also scan files with a smartphone app quite well.

Major storms often disrupt gasoline distribution and other items in the supply chain. with value map And outage tracker features, gasbuddy site And apps Can help you find a working gas station.

As seen during the coronavirus pandemic, Google and Apple kept their Maps apps updated with new information related to the situation like temporary business and road closures. And Google’s Crisis Response team working provide Its software includes flood forecasts, fire maps, hurricane warnings and other alerts.

of apple iphoneGoogle’s pixel phone samsung Galaxy Devices and other phones have shortcuts to call emergency services and find your location. Apple’s iPhone 14 models also include one satellite sos facility When you’re out of cellular range and Google has a personal safety app for Android. Make sure you know how it all works on your model so you can get help fast when you need it.

If you’re worried about a fast-draining phone battery and no power, consider this simple trick if you still have cell service: Change your voice mail greeting to reflect your location and status. Even if your phone runs out of battery, loved ones trying to reach you will get the information.

Of course, there may be situations that are so dire for your phone lost or damaged. Turning on “Find My Phone” in your device’s settings before bad weather hits gives you electronic hope of finding it later.

For a faster recovery from a broken phone, back it up online so that its contents are safe and ready to download to a replacement device. Your phone maker will be happy to sell you extra online storage space for a few dollars a month if you need it, but just make sure you have time to do full cloud backups before those storms hit. Clouds collide.

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