The public sector often deals with crisis management weeks, months and even years after an emergency strikes. FEMA’s Get Tech Ready Web page -- housed within Ready.gov -- is especially relevant in light of the mile-wide tornado that ripped through Oklahoma on Monday, May 20, forcing residents to scramble for aid and prompting the government to disseminate disaster news and relief.

Get Tech Ready instructs readers on how to use consumer technology and social media to prepare for and respond to an emergency. Local emergency management and community leaders can direct residents to the site for steps to take during and after a disaster like Oklahoma’s.

Tech Ready Tips from FEMA:

•    Optimize phones for emergency texts and alerts. Citizens can opt into FEMA’s emergency line by texting “PREPARE” to 43362 (4FEMA). Keep contacts updated across all accounts, including text, social media and email, so it’s easier to communicate with emergency contacts when needed.

•    Use power sources intelligently. Invest in solar-powered or hand crank chargers in case traditional outlets are unavailable for mobile communication devices. Conserve mobile phone battery power by reducing screen brightness or placing the phone in airplane mode.

•    Reduce network congestion by keeping phone calls brief and resisting the urge to download apps, music or watch streaming video immediately following a disaster. Also avoid using email, text messaging or social media for non-emergency communications so that networks remain available for crucial correspondence.

•    Store personal data in the cloud or on a removable drive. This includes medical information for individuals, their families and their pets; property and insurance information; banking information; and current photos. Reams of physical documents are more easily lost than digital documents stored on a flash drive or hosted by a cloud service provider. 

FEMA markets the Get Tech Ready page as a resource for citizens and emergency responders alike. “Through the use of everyday technology, individuals, families, responders and organizations can successfully prepare for, adapt to and recover from disruptions brought on by emergencies and/or disasters,” the website reads.

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press