Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us

by Dave Robinson

Dave Robinson

Tech Ready
Originally published August 10, 2012

I have already confessed to being fascinated with gadgets. I’m pretty sure I’m in the majority. Otherwise how do you explain the millions of iPads out there and why is it the owners manual for your smartphone now comes on a CD? Things are getting more and more complicated because that’s what the public demands.

F.E.M.A (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has instituted a program titled “Get Tech Ready”. This site is designed specifically for those who have grown accustomed to using technology as a matter of routine. My generation had to learn to come up to speed with computers. I remember taking a computer class with my wife in 1982 or 1983. The class was taught by a high school teacher now retired (Art Denning). The computers were Apple II’s, as I recall. (Look that one up in the history books kids.) We came away from the class with the opinion that they could help keep the checkbook straight (maybe) and play some cool games, but that we would probably never have need for one in our home. (No wonder I could never make any money in the stock market!)

Get Tech Ready is a resource that educates families about how using technology can help them prepare for and recover from disasters. A survey by the American Red Cross shows that the internet, including news sites and social networking platforms is one of the most-used tools that people employ to let loved ones know they are safe.

Some preparedness tips offered by Get Tech Ready include: (1) Learn to use your mobile phone for alternative communication methods, such as texting and email, in the event voice communications are not available. (2) Store your personal and financial documents using a cloud-based (online) site or on a flash drive you always have handy. (3) Create an Emergency Information Document using the Ready.gov Family Emergency Plan template in Google Docs or by downloading the Ready FamilyEmergencyPlan to record your plans.

The American Red Cross has developed some very cool applications (apps) for your smartphone. They have a shelter finder app and another titled Safe and Well is an amazing tool to let your loved ones know that you are indeed safe and well. It will also give you information regarding the whereabouts of your friends and family. It’s time to shed your bias against technology and let technology work for you. It could, after all, keep your family alive. Computers, like the horseless carriage, television and rap music, are not going away.

Finally don’t feel left out if you don’t own a computer or don’t know anything about today’s seemingly complicated technology. It’s never too late to learn and it might even be fun. Ask your grandkid to help you. After all I learned to text so I could stay in touch with my grandkids. You can do the same. As always contact me for questions or comments at disasterprep.dave@gmail.com.

Note: Dave Robinson is Bandon's Postmaster and has worked for the postal service for 30 years. He has a background in law enforcement, served in the Air Force in Vietnam, worked nine years for the Coos County Sheriff's Department, and serves on the Myrtle Point School Board, where he lives.

additional columns by Dave Robinson