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5 ways to stay informed during an emergency

SPONSORED — Preparing yourself for an emergency is no small task – just ask most of the country. According to FEMA, 60 percent of Americans aren’t practicing for a disaster. Emergency plan or not, you can make sure your family isn’t left in the dark – literally and figuratively – when disaster strikes.

If you were a G.I. Joe fan circa 1985, you’re already familiar with the idea that “knowing is half the battle.” That sentiment is still true on or off the battlefield. During an emergency, knowing is what could keep you and your family safe. That’s why you want to make sure you’re always ready to receive important communications. Here’s where to start.

Sign up for alerts

Communicating during an emergency doesn’t have to be completely proactive. In fact, you can get emergency alerts and information that come to you. That’s the idea behind AlertSeattle, Seattle’s official emergency notification system. By signing up for AlertSeattle, you’ll receive free alerts from the city via text message, email, voice message or social media. During a large emergency, the city will use AlertSeattle to communicate information about the situation as well as steps you can take to stay safe. AlertSeattle is totally customizable, so you can restrict alerts to emergencies, or opt to receive notifications of traffic disruptions, utility disruptions and severe weather. Sign up for AlertSeattle at alert.seattle.gov.

Keep the radio tuned

They may seem like museum relics, but those battery-operated or crank radios are handier than you think. Remember those loud, blaring sounds you’ve heard on the radio, followed by the promise, “This is only a test?” Well, those alarms are a great way for you to stay informed during an emergency, particularly when government agencies and cellular networks are clogged with people trying to get information or help. Additionally, you may not have access to electricity during an emergency, so make sure your emergency radio is either powered by batteries or good, old-fashioned elbow grease.

Keep some extra juice around

Come wind, rain, fire or (insert disaster of choice here), you can’t count on electricity in your home – or that you’ll be home at all. And without your phone or device in charged, working order you’re not going to get the information you need – or communicate with family and loved ones. That’s why it’s important to stock extra power cords, device chargers and power banks to access quickly in the event of an emergency. If you’ve got an emergency backpack, stock it with a power bank and extra cords so you’re not frantically digging through drawers when it counts.
Set a reminder to recharge power banks periodically so you’re never caught without juice.

Get ‘social’ about it

Social media never sleeps, but that’s what makes it such an effective way to get information in an emergency. Be sure you’re following local news stations and government agencies on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to get important information to keep your family and loved ones safe. You can follow Seattle’s government page here.

Know where to go

When disaster strikes, there’s safety – and comfort – in numbers. Seattle is home to 135 “Community Hubs” that are designated areas where community members can gather to help and support each other during or after an emergency. For information on Community Hubs, or to find one, visit Seattle Neighborhood Hubs.

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