HOUSTON – If past severe weather events have taught us anything, we know mobile networks can become so overwhelmed - they fail. When the power goes out, so do our routers and modems. Meaning we can’t log on to communicate with our family. There are a few things you can do to prepare your device for these scenarios to stay connected.
1. Charge now.
Have everything plugged in and charging now. This includes your devices but also any battery packs you may use with your devices. If you lose power, you will already be at full charge and you will also have the backup of the power banks. (If you don’t have power banks, consider devices you have that could also double as chargers for your device. For example, an old laptop or iPad that you could use to charge your device.
2. Phone Settings.
Change your phone settings to “low power mode” on IOS or “battery saver” on Android phones. Even though you are not using your device, it could be searching for cell service and that will drain your battery quickly.
3. Stop running apps.
While you are checking the phone settings consider turning off apps to save your battery life. Some apps run in the background even if you are not using them. This could drain your battery.
4. Prep for potential navigation help.
If you need to evacuate, you may not have reliable cell phone service. But, the GPS on your phone might not need it. If you download GOOGLE maps ahead of time and search specific cities where you want to go, you can still get there when you are offline.
5. Learn how to call using wi-fi.
Should cell towers go down, you can enable wi-fi calling on your smartphone. This will let you make calls anywhere in the United States even without wireless service.
You also want to make sure you have all the important documents ready to go during a storm. Here are some examples of the documents you may want to keep handy.