Hurricane Isaac is headed to the Gulf Coast, are you prepared?

Hurricane Isaac
By Michelle Haag on 25 Aug 2012 05:54 pm EDT
The southeast portion of the US is bracing for a visitor over the next few days, and it's not a houseguest anyone is welcoming with open arms. In fact, it's not a person at all, it's Hurricane Isaac, and he's fixin to tear through the Gulf Coast. Phil over at Android Central actually lives down there, and he put together some tips to help you use your smartphone to get through the days ahead.
  • Charge your phones, tablets, laptops. Now. Keep them charged. And once the storm starts, keep them off. You'll likely lose power at some point, and there's a good chance your local cell network will go down for a bit, even with generator backups.
  • Spare batteries. If you got 'em, make sure they're charged, too. If you still have time to get some, do it.
  • Car charger. Get one. Get a couple, actually.
  • After the storm, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF BBM! We've heard many stories of disasters striking and BBM being the only way to get messages through when phone calls and text messages fail. If the network's up, it's going to be clogged, and calls might not go through. Text messages have a much better chance, but BBM will likely be most reliable.
  • If you're worried about damage and don't have a traditional camera, use your phone to take a few pictures of your home and your belongings before the storm hits. It'll make insurance claims much easier, should it come to that.
  • While you still have power and internet access, be it on your phone or broadband, take advantage of features like instant uploading on Google+ or Dropbox to make sure those pictures get somewhere that can't be destroyed by the storm. Better to be safe than sorry in that case.
  • If you just have to use Instagram or other picture apps during a storm, don't use a damn filter. Folks wanna see what's happening, and filters don't help that.
  • Use apps like Evernote to help keep track of your emergency supplies.
  • Before the storm, use those gas-finder apps to track down the cheapest petrol. That won't help you with the lines, but it may save you a few bucks.
  • See if your phone can serve as an FM radio, if you don't have any others around. (That's not out of the question in 2012).
  • Apps from FEMA and the Red Cross can help you find shelters and other emergency information.

Regardless of what smartphone platform you choose, we want you to be safe. Take the tips above to heart, and most of all be safe! If you have any tips you want to add that aren't listed above, please share them in the comments below.

Thanks Phil

Michelle Haag Michelle Haag "@_Miche11e_ and C0001B3B5" 1214 (articles) 1695 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Hurricane Isaac is headed to the Gulf Coast, are you prepared?


And if you are a Brighthouse Cable Subscriber, PLEASE, PLEASE, don't call up expecting repairs to be made the second you call.

Wow, you just made me realize something.
Never missed it anyway MTL radio is *yawn*

Pick up one of those Eton Red-Cross Radios.... they are hand-crank/solar, include a flashlight and USB output to charge your phone, and have emergency bands (shortwave) aside from FM/AM.

I have the Eton MICROLINK FR160, picked it up for about $30. With this device I have an endless light supply and radio. No batteries are needed, just crank it up, or charge it during the day leaving in the sun.

Best of all, it has a USB output to charge your phone! So even if you run out of batteries (which you want to stock up on anyways) this will keep you going. I believe you have to "crank" because the solar won't output high enough mA to charge. But if you are really stuck, you have an option.

See this:

If that doesn't work, try this shortened link:

PS - I happen to mention Eton because that's what I have and know, but there are some other brands out there so be sure to check all of them out and see what works best and costs most reasonable.

If I can add: Go fill up your car now! Like RIGHT NOW. Fill up a Jerry can too. Also, buy a locking gas cap while you're out for your car. You'd be surprised what people do when there isn't gas available...

Get bottled water and essentials like a lighter, canned food, granola or energy bars, a multi-tool with can opener, etc.

Here's a great website to review too:

It will save your life.

Good luck!

Im in Canada so I dont care, but good luck to those who are in that hurricanes path.
Playbook, the one and only

The USA used to not care about hurricanes that much. Until Katrina. Canada will never get a hurricane, so you're lucky, but I've lived them and I'm aware of what they can do.
Hopefully, Isaac remains as a minor hurricane when it lands.

Good vibes, to y'all!


Don't know if it was mentioned in the article, but if at all possible, get at least two extra phone batteries. Saved me during the derecho this summer.
Good luck to all who will be affected.

I remember working in the Florida Keys and I stayed back to "experience a Hurricane " (yea I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed) Wilma came and after changing my underwear I managed to get some good pics with my phone.

Just when all was done I fell asleep and woke up to the gulf of Mexico in my living room. I learned about storm surge that day.

Here is a list of apps I suggest having or apps that are similar.
Dream Sounds

If you don't already have a flashlight app I would suggest getting one and just use the screen light for small tasks. A compass is something no smartphone should be without and learn to use it. "Alkitabku" is the best Bible app, no need for internet connection to use. "Dream Sounds" for keeping you or small children calm. "SideSwipe" news and rss reader that can be used without internet connection. "MorseMe" for communication in a worst case scenario. "BlackStar" for Gps and weather information.

CrackBerry Is My Choice Of Drug

It's during emergencies like these that having a removable battery cell phone is a lifesaver.

~I am BlackBerry by choice~

Thanks for the article and all the additional ideas. I am not in hurricane territory anymore, but in earthquake and prime forest fire area. Most of these apply to any of us. Good to know.

I am in Toronto and the Hurricane is just passing the Waterloo (RIM Town) I think by January 2013 you can see if the town stands tall or devastation.

I am SO freaking tired of hearing about using BBM because of it's reliability. That may certainly be the case, if I only has one friend that had a BB any longer. What is the point of this stupidity, maybe in India or Thailand where they have a zillion of them, but not here, not anymore. How many of you have friends with Blackberry's?????????

Lets not forget to enable Severe and Extreme Threat Messages in Emergency Alert Messages.

The blacker the berry the sweeter the use...