Prepare Your Data and Devices

Prepare your data and devices before a disaster

Upload password protected copies of key documents to a backup or cloud drive that is secured in a remote location. If remote access is chosen, consider choosing a backup system that is secure and accessible from a variety of devices, should yours prove inoperable. Examples of documents could include:
  • Insurance paperwork
  • Copies of identification documents (birth certificates, passports, etc)
  • Pet information (photos, vaccination records)
  • Basic financial information (contact information for credit cards, banks, etc)
  • Family emergency plans
Learn how to post status updates and messages to social networking sites via mobile or SMS text.
  • How to Post a Tweet via SMS
  • How to Update Your Facebook Status via SMS

Identify an out of town friend you can call in case you lose access to the internet, who can spread the word for you via social media channels. People outside of your area may have better access to communication tools.

Build out short lists of contacts on your social networking sites of the most important people you should alert in case of emergency. You can do this easily by building a circle of emergency contacts on Google +, by building an emergency contact group on Facebook or building a Twitter list.

Upload mobile apps to help stay informed of weather, evacuation routes, shelter locations and to have emergency training at your fingertips.

  • The Red Cross has free apps available for download. The Red Cross Shelter Finder App lists the locations of open shelters. The Red Cross worked with Dr. Mehmet Oz and Sharecare to develop the “S.O.S. by the American Red Cross App.” The app puts first aid and CPR information at your fingertips.
  • Download FEMA’s Smartphone Application so you can also apply for disaster assistance, map disaster recovery centers and stay connected through their mobile site, text messaging and social media channels.
  • Make sure that your smart phone contains bookmarks and the mobile apps for all the social media and news sites that you use on a regular basis.
  • Download a flashlight app.

Make sure your contact information on social network pages is current.

Store extra batteries or chargers (handcrank or solar) with your emergency preparedness kits or in an automobile, so your devices can remain powered.

Use a web based mapping tool, such as Google maps, to map out multiple evacuation routes from your neighborhood and map multiple meeting sites for your family.

If you own or manage a business, use the Red Cross Ready Rating tool to get your workplace prepared with a free online checklist to measure your workplace preparedness efforts and receive customized feedback about how to improve your preparedness level.

Follow Red Cross news and information.

Prepare Your Data and Devices After a Disaster

  • Go to and register on Safe and Well. From that site you can update your Facebook and Twitter status to let your loved ones and friends know that you are safe.
  • Alert those in your social networking circles of your status. A quick post of “I’m ok” or using the hashtag #imok will be sufficient.
  • In an emergency, you still need to call 9-1-1 for help. Be patient. You may find that cell phone coverage is spotty or unavailable or that it takes a while to get through.