Using Technology in Emergencies: What You Need to Know

Using Technology in Emergencies: What You Need to Know

After months of cold hands and numb cheeks, summer in Canada is always a welcome sight. While you may be busy planning barbeques and camping trips with loved ones, it’s also important to remember that this season could come with serious natural hazards that could affect all Canadians. Whether your region is at risk of severe storms, floods, wildfires, you should know that mobile devices can help keep you updated, connected, and safe in the aftermath of these disasters. Below are some quick tips you can provide so people can get the most out of their mobile device during emergency situations.

Keep your friends close. Update and back up your contact list regularly (including phone numbers, addresses, social media accounts, etc.). Make sure to include at least one out-of-town friend or relative in case of Emergency (ICE) contacts into your phone so that they can easily be identified by emergency personnel if need be.

Know your devices. Learn how to send out updates via data-based services like text messaging and social networks (they are less likely to experience network congestion and outage than voice communications). You may also be able to forward calls made to your home phone to your mobile device, should you be evacuated.

Monitor your battery life. To conserve battery during power outages, you can reduce the brightness of your screen, keep phone calls brief, close apps that aren’t in use, and place your device on airplane mode. You could use a solar-powered or hand-cranked charger (and even your car for that matter) to charge your device. has lots of cheap solar and hand crack chargers to pick from.

Utilize social media. Follow official national, provincial and regional government accounts to stay updated during emergencies. Additionally, should you live in an area affected by a disaster, you may receive a Facebook notification inviting you to use a new feature entitled ‘Safety Check’. This feature allows you to mark yourself as ‘safe’ during an emergency (thus providing peace of mind to loved ones). You will also be able to see which friends were also in the affected area and whether or not they’ve checked in.

Be mindful of resources. Streaming videos, downloading music or videos, and playing video games can all cause network congestion. Help potentially life-saving emergency calls get through to 9-1-1 by avoiding these mobile activities in the hours following a disaster. has more great tips and information for protecting your loved ones before, during, and after an emergency.




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