Wildfire Season is Here: Tips to Use Technology to Prepare

A May 1 report from the National Interagency Fire Center warned that the western United States should brace for “significant fire activity” this summer due to last year’s dry winter and an expected warming trend.

Unfortunately, that prediction is already a reality. From the Banning, Springs and Panther fires currently raging in California to the Piedra Fire in northern New Mexico, it’s wildfire season in the West.

For those in areas that may be impacted by wildfires, there are several steps you can take in advance to stay connected and informed in the event of a natural disaster.

First, develop a plan for emergency preparedness that includes supplies and a communications strategy for friends and family. Create an emergency kit that includes an extra power cord and a wireless charger for your smartphone. The ability to charge a phone can be critical during an emergency.

In addition to keeping devices charged, program emergency numbers in your cell phone for one-touch dialing. And, if you have children, teach them how to use the cell phone in an emergency as well as when and how to dial 9-1-1.

When in an emergency situation, limit non-emergency calls to conserve battery power and free-up wireless networks for emergency agencies and operations.

Your smartphone can also help you document any damage through pictures and video. And, GPS and navigation services can help if your family needs to evacuate.

Read additional tips that can help you prepare, plan, and stay informed and connected in an emergency.