A plate of California rolls had just arrived at our table when we heard the sirens begin to wail: the tornados were coming for us. Not wanting to leave our canine companion in harm’s way at home, my boyfriend and I decided to leave the restaurant and drive back to our neighborhood despite the oncoming storm. We made it into the house with seconds to spare, and as the first balls of hail began to pelt the roof, we dove into the closet with three crucial items for survival: Poochie, pillows and a blanket for protection, and last but perhaps most importantly, an iPad.
Nestled between piles of jeans and unmatched socks, the three of us were able to keep a virtual eye on our
surroundings while our physical eyes remained safely behind the closet door. We watched live weather and news reports, accessed storm charts and checked on friends’ safety statuses using social media like Facebook and Twitter. Sitting there amongst the clothes, the evolution of technology suddenly struck me like the lightning bolts still flashing outside: When did we leap from the battery powered radio in the basement to the iPad in the closet?
“A long time ago” is the answer if you’re a tech savvy person and have been a laptop owner for ages. Other people, like my mom, are newer to the technology, having just purchased her first mobile internet device this year. More than half of Americans do have a laptop in their home, providing crucial mobility during weather emergencies, but they would be much safer and more prepared if they went a step further and purchased a smartphone or tablet because of their app features. ABC News confirms this statement, acknowledging in a report that smartphones could be your most valuable tool during or after a storm.
I think smartphones and tablets are just as valuable if not more valuable before a storm though. IMap Weather Radio, an app for Apple products, sends critical voice and text alerts on life-threatening weather events, providing “an early warning to help individuals and families seek safety, even in the middle of the night.” I can’t help but think about the rare and deadly tornadoes that passed through the Midwest on February 29th, coming on so suddenly in the middle of the night and wreaking havoc while many slept. IMap Weather Radio’s alerts will actually read out weather emergency messages at all hours of the day, waking people from their sleep and saving their lives. While I sought shelter in the closet, IMap Weather Radio sent out 1.6 million alerts to users.
In the future, we’ll undoubtedly be seeing more and more people relying solely on their mobile device for news,
and the catch phrase, “there’s an app for that” will ring truer than ever. If you don’t already have a weather alert app on your smartphone or tablet, seriously consider buying one or downloading a free version. Someday you might end up sitting in your closet like me, thanking your mobile device for saving your life.
Do you know of anyone who doesn’t have a mobile internet device in their home? Do they still use a battery powered radio during emergency weather scenarios, crank the volume up as loud as possible on the TV before heading underground, or have alternate solutions? Share your thoughts with us on the PGi Blog!