There are many ways that technology, including cellphones, can help get residents through an emergency or disaster. Whether it is by contacting loved ones or staying up-to-date on important information, everyone should take advantage of the tools they have to ensure both they and their family members are safe. Technology can help individuals, families, responders, and organizations prepare for, adapt to, and recover from by emergencies or disasters.

Although technology can help, it is not always available during an emergency. Make sure you have a family disaster plan that outlines what to do in case of communication problems or power outages. Maintain a written list of key contacts in the event of a phone being unusable.

Before an Emergency

  • Ensure all contacts are updated on your phone, email, and social media. Put extra phone batteries in an emergency kit or purchase a backup charger (such as an auto, solar, or crank charger).
  • Keep your phone dry.
  • Plan how you will use alternative communication methods. If you are unable to make a voice call you can use text messages or social media to communicate. Landline phones should have a corded receiver so it will work during a power loss.
  • Anyone without a phone should have a prepaid phone card to use during a disaster.
  • Download the MEMA Massachusetts Alerts app, which provides real-time emergency notifications and public safety information to your smartphone.
  • Enroll in your community’s local notification system for calls, texts, or emails on your cellphone. Contact your local public safety officials to enroll. Learn more about emergency alerts and information.
  • Follow MEMA on Twitter (@MassEMA) and Facebook for emergency preparedness information.
  • Store important documents, such as personal and financial records, in a password-protected site online that you can access on your phone, or on a secure flash or jump drive that you can keep readily available.

During an Emergency

  • If you are evacuating, set up call forwarding from your landline phone to your cellphone.
  • Limit phone use, since it can add to network congestion during a disaster. Keep phone calls brief. Wait 10 seconds before redialing.
  • Conserve phone batteries.  
  • If phone lines are down, use social media or texting to let others know you are OK.
  • Follow MEMA on Twitter (@MassEMA) and Facebook and visit www.mass.gov/mema for emergency information.
  • When it is safe to do so, use camera phones to take and store photos or video clips of damaged property. After the emergency you can send them to your insurance company and for your records.