During and after a major storm, staying safe through an evacuation and then resuming day-to-day life safely usually requires a strategy, planning and often re-planning. There are so many moving parts and unknowns. Today we are lucky enough to be able to gain a tremendous amount of information at our fingertips. Technology has changed the face of emergency recovery procedures and communication. Assuming there is electric, or phone service available, recovery has become more manageable. Getting answers to the most pressing and critical questions can mean the difference between staying safe or at risk:
- Are there trees down?
- What is the curfew?
- Do we have power? Is it restored yet?
- Is our water safe? How do we ensure that?
- Are roads cleared? Is there another route?
- When will schools open again?
Automated Alerts – Updates – Notifications!
Here are some great alert services offering information through multiple devices that relay status changes, such as “power is restored” or “evacuation order is lifted”. Here are some services that are easy to setup for future use:
1. Electric Company Alerts – Receive text message or a phone call when power is restored
2. Electric Company Outage Maps
3. Friends and Family are safe “Check- ins” – are you friends, family and associates OK?
4. Neighborhood Support via Social Groups like Facebook’s Sales Group, “Bye, Sell and Trade” – Found many neighborhood photos from people who didn’t evacuate
5. Weather Alert Mobile Apps – Get My Weather Daily – Weather Watcher (many available)
6. Local Authorities Alerts & Social Page Notification (evacuation status, return status, curfew details, travel requirements)
CEMA was our go to local alert system – Chatham County Emergency Management Authority
7. Our Town’s Social Media Page
8. School Opening and Closing Alerts
- Each School has an alert system you can sign up for that will text, call and email updates on school closures , concerns and events, etc.
9. Roadway Travel Alerts – Evacuation and Re-entry Routes, Traffic Forecasts, Accidents/Traffic, Closures, Web Cams – Inrix App (below), Google Maps & GPS services have many of these features as well
10. Safe Cleanup, Financial Recovery and Assistance
- Health Department Guide
- National Center for Health and Housing
- Water Recovery
- Donations; Supplies
- Disaster Assistance
- Rental and Home Insurance Claims. Don’t forget to Take photos of your belongings. Try to take an account before you leave or evacuate, photographing each room, and then when you return. Insurance should cover many damages. When they don’t a quick online Title Loan might be able to help with those unexpected costs, or the deductible which can be $500 – $2,000, more than you may have at your immediate disposal.
Make sure to get your neighbors’ cell phone numbers and email address – you can group text for updates and information.
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