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Using your mobile device to prepare for winter

November 9, 2016
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We can't deny it winter is coming. The latest predictions from Accuweather forecasts a cold and snowy winter for New England, with frequent storms and temperatures 3-5 degrees below last winter. While it is too early to predict what lies ahead, it's always best to be prepared in case the unexpected happens.To that end, we're offering tips on how to use technology to create a digital record of your most important documents, belongings, and contact information before a natural disaster strikes.

A wireless device can act as a digital diary or fire safe in an emergency so if the worst-case scenario happens, you'll be armed with information, right in the palm of your hand. Hopefully, you will never need this information, but it's smart to take precautions just in case

Some other helpful tips:

Take photos of your important paperwork.Store pictures of your family's birth certificates, drivers' licenses, marriage licenses, passports, social security cards, health records, wills, list of medications and doses, and insurance information on your smartphone, so you can quickly and easily access it when you need them.

Document your belongings.If a worst-case scenario happens and you lose your house and/or possessions, you'll have photos of your home, cars, televisions, computers, jewelry, furniture, and other valuables to provide to your insurance company. It is easier to make a visual record of the contents of your home of office using a video than recording everything by hand.

Catalogue your photos.Create folders on your phone to organize and save your information so you can quickly and easily access it, as needed.

Store emergency contact information on your phone.While you likely have phone numbers for family, friends and colleagues in your contact list already, be sure to add phone numbers for your doctors, pharmacy, insurance companies, nearby hotels and shelters, as well as the Red Cross and other disaster aid organizations. If networks are busy or down during and after a disaster, know that you might have better luck texting versus calling your contacts.

Keep extra chargers and batteries on hand.Ensure that your phone stays charged by keeping extra batteries and chargers (including car chargers) on hand. If you lose electricity after a natural disaster, extra batteries will be helpful.

Get news and weather apps and alerts. Keep tabs on local news and weather, and sign up for alerts that will provide real-time notifications about breaking news, potential hazards, incoming bad weather, evacuation orders, etc.

Knowledge is power. Learn the 'little' things that can make a huge difference in an emergency, such as how to operate a fire extinguisher or basic first aid skills. Get trained in CPR or the even simplerhands-only CPR.Learn how toshut off utilitiesin your house in case a disaster threatens your gas, water or power lines.

Prepare an emergency kit. Pack food, water, medications, documents, a battery-operated radio, extra batteries, flashlights, a first aid kit, and other emergency supplies in a 'go bag,' in case you need to evacuate. If you have to leave quickly, don't forget to bring your mobile device.

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