As Hurricane Michael makes its way over the Florida Panhandle, people are hunkering down and waiting for the Category 4 storm to pass.
In its 7AM update, the Miami-based NWS National Hurricane Center reported it is expecting Hurricane Michael to dump as much as 12 inches of rain in certain parts of Florida and Alabama. It is also expecting life-threatening surf and rip currents, and possibly a few tornadoes.
With all the possibilities of the destruction that is expected to come with Hurricane Michael, HelloSWFL compiled a list of tips and tools people can use to check in on friends and family who may be in direct path of the storm.
Before the Storm
Emergency Contact List: Make sure your loved ones have emergency contacts set up in their phones. The contact list should include immediate family members, local fire and police departments, Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Assistance Helpline and the contact information to their local Red Cross.
The list should also include family members who lives out-of-state.
Subscribe to Emergency Text Alerts: Alerts from local news channels and the National Weather Service can help keep you updated with the most recent developments of the storm.
Register with the Red Cross Safe and Well Program: “People can register, whether they’re looking for someone or want to communicate with someone and also if someone wants to register themselves to let family members know that they are okay,” said Rebecca Torriani, Red Cross South Florida Communication Director.
“It’s a nice way for people to check in to see if they can’t communicate with someone how to reach out to them.”
During the Storm
Social Media Check-in: Check your friends and family’s social media pages. They might use their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat profiles to give updates on where they are and what’s happening around them.
Limit Cell Phone Use: Making frequent phone calls can slow down the networks - that’s something you want to avoid in an emergency situation like a hurricane. Instead, send text messages or emails to check-in.
Download Messaging Apps: WhatsApp allows you to send messages to people anywhere in the world. Another messaging to consider is Zello. The Zello app essentially turns your phone into a two-way radio, or a walkie-talkie. It’s important to note that both of these apps require an internet or WiFi connection.
After the Storm
Be Patient: Depending on the severity of the storm cell towers, electricity and the internet might be down. It might take several days for people to get back up and running.