VIDEO: Tips to keep gadgets safe and ready when natural disasters hit
Hurricane Irma is coming hot on the heels of Hurricane Harvey and is set to bring with it destruction and misery. If you're in the firing line then here's how to get your tech ready for what Mother Nature throws at you.
Charge all your gadgets in advance
Do it now, while you can! This is especially important if you live somewhere where the power is likely to go out.
Also, remember to charge up any portable battery packs and rechargeable batteries that you might have (you might not need them, but they may help a neighbor out of a bind).
- Keep everything on charge for as long as possible just in case the power goes out.
- Cold weather seriously saps battery life, so if you're going to have to be out and about, your devices won't last as long as usual.
- If the power starts browning out then it might be a good idea to move your chargers to a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) if you have one in case they or the devices connected to them are damaged.
- If you have a gas-powered generator, test it in advance of needing it, especially if it's filled with stale gas (and common sense dictates that this isn't the sort of thing you run indoors).
Blow the dust off your radio
The internet might go down, along with your phone and power, but the radio will still work. If you have one handy it might be a good idea to make sure that the batteries are fresh and that you know how to use it (do a quick Google search in advance for local radio stations you can tune into).
Keep an eye on the weather
Here are a selection of websites that will let you do just that. You might also want to link to a local weather station and news site.
And here are a couple of apps to help you stay informed:
For a rundown of more apps and services you can use, check out "Hurricane Irma: Storm trackers and other survival tools for mobile and desktop users."
Familiarize yourself with any kit you don't know how to use
Not sure how your portable battery pack, generator or new weather app works? The time to be figuring this out is now, not when you're hip-deep in snow and the lights are out!
Download (and print out) any manuals you might need now.
Weatherproof your devices
If you have big, cumbersome weatherproof cases for your smartphones and tablets that you don't normally use, now is the time to put them on. Go on, no one will judge you!
If you don't have a custom case then a Ziploc bag is better than nothing. And if you have one of those little bags of silica gel that comes with all sorts of things, throw one of those into the bag with your device as it'll help absorb any water that makes its way into the bag.
Back up your data
Snow turns into water, so if you live somewhere which is vulnerable to flooding then you might want to back up your data now just in case the worst happens and something happens to one -- or more -- of your devices.
An offsite or cloud backup is preferable, but if all you have is an external hard drive or USB key, then that will have to do (pop it into a waterproof bag to give it a fighting chance).
Check your car kit
Here's a quick checklist of things to consider if you have to hit the road to get away from the storm:
- If you don't have to drive, don't
- Make sure you windshield washer fluid is topped up
- Make sure you have a chargers and cables for your portable devices
- Throw blankets, drinks, and snacks in the back (just in case)
Stay warm, stay dry, stay safe! And if you have any tip, feel free to share them in the comments section below.
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