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Mace & Crown | February 19, 2018

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Using Technology to Prepare for a Hurricane

Audra Reigle | Technology Editor

With Hurricane Irma expected to hit Florida this weekend and Hurricane Jose forming in the Atlantic, there’s a lot of talk of hurricane preparedness. A hurricane currently isn’t expected to hit the Hampton Roads area, but it’s better to be prepared ahead of time instead of waiting until the last minute. We’ve got ways that tech can help you out in a hurricane.

Download apps for local TV news stations.

All three TV news stations in Hampton Roads have apps that viewers can download to keep up with the news and weather even when they aren’t broadcasting live. Both Android and iOS users can download the apps. It’s also best to follow them on social media, like Facebook and Twitter, as updates can be posted there too.

For those new to the area, our local news stations are WTKR, WAVY and WVEC.

Have a portable charger for your phone.

If the power goes out, you won’t be able to charge your phone unless you have a power source, whether it be your car or a portable charger. Having your phone during a storm is important for many reasons. You’ll be able to pass the time by playing games or scrolling through your social media feeds. More importantly, it’ll allow you to call for help if you’re in danger. You’ll also be able to tell your friends and family that you’re okay.

You can find a variety of portable chargers for all types of phones on Amazon.

Download maps ahead of time.

It may be best to download maps ahead of time, in case you lose cell service while you’re trying to get to safety. Your phone will still be able to help you get around with a built in GPS sensor, but you need to have the map and route downloaded ahead of time.

Google Maps allows users to download maps ahead of time, though you won’t get real time traffic information.

Google’s Play Store has a section dedicated to apps that can help Android users with Hurricane Irma. Weather, first aid and maps apps are all on the list as well as Twitter and Facebook. Most apps are also available for download on iOS devices.

Even if a hurricane doesn’t strike Hampton Roads, it’s better to be prepared now. As college students, we’re already stressed enough with classes, work and extracurricular activities. If you’re just a little prepared now, that can eliminate all the stress of trying to get everything together at the last minute.