Notice any disasters lately? Let’s see, worldwide terrorist attacks, Katrina, the Gulf oil spill, powerful earthquakes in Haiti, Pakistan and China. Of course, we have the multi-packs; the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake/tsunami combo, the 2011 Japan (Tōhoku) earthquake/tsunami/nuclear power plant explosion… you get the idea.
Makes a guy a little twitchy. I often wonder whether preparing for disaster is paranoid or wise. Funny thing about life, if you prepare and nothing happens you’re called paranoid. Prepare, and disaster strikes, suddenly you’re a genius. Interesting how the same actions can be interpreted so differently. I personally am of the mindset that preparation is the way to go.
It’s the Labor Day holiday today in both Canada and the United States, but of course disasters don’t take vacations or breaks and could strike at any given moment even when you least expect it.
The Canadian Government urges its citizens and families to be self sufficient for at least 72 hours in the event of an emergency. After all, a large-scale disaster may leave emergency workers overwhelmed and out numbered. As a result, they may be unable to address your particular situation for some time. Inaccessible roads, flooding, widespread fire, thousands of injured/dead; all could lead to delayed emergency response. So, perhaps a little preparation isn’t such a bad idea.
The Government of Canada has developed a website to assist those looking to create household emergency plans. Whether you’re Canadian or not, the site provides helpful strategies, and publications for developing your family’s own disaster response plans. It also provides guidance for creating your own emergency kits. Remember, this information is typically useful only before an emergency. After the fact, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to procure the necessary supplies. So, as the saying goes, “make hay while the sun shines”.
Without going into too much detail, the site suggests a three-step approach to emergency preparation. In short, the steps are as follows:
Step 1: Know the risks
Step 2: Make a plan
Step 3: Get a kit
Overall, these steps are a good basic outline for emergency preparedness. Of course, for any kind of detail you should really just visit the GetPrepared.ca website.
For our American friends, you can also find valuable information on the official FEMA website.
One thing these sites leave out is your tablet computers. Gasp! How dare they!? Don’t they know that in the scenario of a house being on fire, your tablet computer is the first thing to be removed, right after your wife and kids? Um. Ok, kids… Well… I guess that depends on your kids. Kids… then tablet… then wife. I’ll just let you sort that one out.
Yes indeed, as the title of this article indicates, your tablet computer can be your lifeline in emergency situations. And, we’re going to tell you how it can prove to be a lifesaver. So, well… there.
Let’s start light with the official FEMA app. The FEMA App contains heaps of information relating to disaster preparation, survival, and recovery. The free app guides you through various scenarios, from preparing your own emergency kits, to strategies on how to survive various types of disasters. After all, disasters come in all shapes and sizes. Here’s a brief list of common disasters which could affect you and your family.
Most Common Types of Disasters
- Dam Failure
- Hazardous Material
- Nuclear Power Plant Emergency
- Winter Storm
FEMA App for Android
That’s a lot of contingencies. Fortunately for you this app is designed to help you prepare. It includes an interactive checklist for emergency kits and a section for selecting and designating emergency meeting locations. In this same vein, it also includes a map with FEMA Disaster Recovery Center locations and shelters. The Disaster Recovery Centers are one-stop, centralized bases of operation where survivors can access key relief services. The app continues with information on how to stay safe during a disaster as well as how to recover from one. It also provides information on how the public can get involved before and after a disaster. It even provides a link to the FEMA blog. Why not download this free app on your Android tablet or smartphone now.
Click here to download and install the FEMA Android app.
The thing about disasters is this. They’ll either kill you or you’ll survive them. If they kill you, then you needn’t worry, because, well… you’re dead. If you survive in mostly one piece, there are things you can do. Hopefully you’ll have the opportunity to access your emergency kit. It’s highly advisable to have both a flashlight and portable radio in your emergency kit. Of course the aforementioned items are useless without batteries, so it’s important to include those as well. I’d even consider packing a few spares. Even better is to have a hand-cranked flashlight and radio. With a radio you’ll at least have access to emergency radio broadcasts. Here are a few of our favorites.
Recommended Hand Cranked Flashlights & Radios
Eton Rover Self-Powered Weather Radio with Flashlight and USB Cell Phone Charger
Eton Axis Self-Powered Safety Hub with Weather Radio and USB Cell Phone Charger
Wind ‘N Go Portable Lantern/Radio
Although we haven’t gotten into too much about tablet computers in Part 1, we’ll delve much deeper into tablets in Part 2. Stay tuned to see how a tablet computer can be your lifeline in emergency situations.