Hurricane Season. Anyone who lives along the coastal United States can relate to those two words. This week is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. Funny enough, it coincides with the June 1st start of Hurricane Season. As Floridians, we trek out to the local hardware stores to stock up on batteries and flashlights and, of course, bottled water. We make sure our homes are safe and hurricane shutters are accessible and ready to go. Over the years we have become conditioned to think that we are ready, but are we really? Sometimes you don’t know how unprepared you are until it is too late. Every storm season brings a degree of uncertainty. Fortunately, there are several technological resources available that can help you to prepare and stay safe this hurricane season.

Microsoft Help Bridge

Using Technology To Get Ready For Hurricane Season

  • Stay Connected: During times of disaster, social media and texting are quick and effective ways to communicate with friends and family. Last year, Microsoft launched HelpBridge, an app designed to help people connect with one another, and with volunteer and donation opportunities, during any type of disaster. HelpBridge is free and available on Windows, Android and iOS. It allows you to send updates through various social media outlets, including Twitter and Facebook. Through your phone’s GPS capabilities you can also choose whether to share your location in your alerts. Microsoft released an update to the app including a new easy to navigate User Interface and push notifications. When phone services are down, Skype on Windows or Windows Phone can help you stay connected.
  • Have A Plan: One of the best ways you can weather the storm is to prepare for it. Microsoft Excel offers several free templates, including emergency contact lists and family emergency plans. Remember to plan for senior citizens and pets in your household, and communicate this plan to family and friends so they are aware. Your plan can be accessed during a disaster by saving it to a cloud service, like OneDrive on Windows or Windows Phone, so you can access your documents on any computer or smartphone – even when Internet access is not available. The United States Department of Homeland Security also offers several resources and games to make disaster preparedness planning easy for the whole family, including Facebook application, bReddi, which helps you and your family prepare for emergencies. The American Red Cross and FEMA provide extensive preparation guidance and status information for various types of natural disasters, including hurricanes.
  • Medical Records: Often times, medical records are an afterthought. Quick and reliable access to your health and medical information is important to ensure the appropriate medical aid during a natural disaster. HealthVault on Windows and Windows Phone helps you gather, store, use, and share important health information for you and your family by creating an emergency profile. Here you can manage and track your family’s medical contacts, allergies, medication, immunizations, and health conditions.  Your medical providers can securely log in and see a full picture of your history and medical needs.

Microsoft HealthVault

Technology and hurricane preparedness have come a long way in the last 10 years or so. Having a plan can mean the world of difference for you and your family if disaster was to strike. Download the HelpBridge app on here and visit Microsoft Disaster Response site to learn more about the Microsoft Disaster Response program.

Do you live in a hurricane impact zone?