September is National Preparedness Month, an ideal time to do some digital diligence to ensure your tech is protected during storm season. You can also harness the power of technology to prepare for storms, hurricanes and other natural disasters.
From figuring what to do with electronics during a storm to assessing how well a surge protector will protect your PC, use this month — and this checklist — to ensure the safety of your electronics during a future emergency.
1. Be Proactive
What you do before a storm is even brewing is important. Downloading tools like the FEMA app
can help with basic preparedness, weather alerts and safety tips. Get the Cox App
with SmartHelp to detect internet outages in your area, receive text updates and contact customer support.
You will also want to make sure you can connect with family and friends, so now is the time to check log-ins for social media and texting apps, update your phone and email contacts and use the
2. Protect Your Devices
A common question as storm season approaches is "Should I unplug my electronics?" Indeed, to best safeguard your tech during a storm, try to shut down your TV, computers, printers and other devices, and unplug all cables. Since that's not always possible, installing surge protectors before the onset of storm season will help divert any power surges that may occur to a ground connection instead of your plugged-in devices — limiting the voltage that could wreak havoc.
If possible, in the calm before a storm, relocate all electronics to a safe room as far away from flooding as you can anticipate. You can also use a waterproof dry bag
with a side-access laptop pocket along with a front zip pocket and padded back panel to safely stow away additional devices.
3. Take Charge of Your Chargers
Try to keep your devices and spare batteries charged, as well as have on-hand car chargers and portable chargers in case of a long-term power outage or evacuation. When you need to immediately conserve valuable battery life during a storm, switch to low-power or airplane mode.
4. Safeguard Important Data
Regularly back up your devices to protect your photos and data and ensure you can easily transfer them should you need to replace an item due to storm damage. You can also download a scanning app to your smartphone so you can quickly capture digital copies of important documents using your phone's camera.
recommends digitizing vital records (birth and marriage certificates, child custody papers) identification (passport, driver's license, Social Security card) and insurance documents and medical records. (Download a document checklist
to maintain electronic access to your important files.) Make sure all data stored online is secure and password-protected.
5. Connect to a Wifi Hotspot
If your home internet connection is impacted you can connect to a wifi hotspot to access emergency service, resources and connect with family and friends. Cox internet plans provide free access to a network of some 4 million wifi hotspots
around the country. When you enter your user ID, you can connect up to three devices.
6. Invest in Storm-Ready Tech
Tripp Lite TLP1208TELTV 12 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip: This 12-outlet surge protector
includes four transformer plugs that won't overlap the eight other outlets, as well as coaxial and phone connectors. It also boasts an auto shut-off feature and an 8-foot cord.
Lenovo Go USB-C Laptop Power Bank: This charger easily connects
to USB-C laptops and devices and powers multiple devices even when the power bank is being recharged.
OEUDD Solar Charger Power Bank: This portable solar charger
has enough power to charge three devices simultaneously. It also features built-in LED lights so you can use it as a flashlight, and is semi-waterproof to withstand heavy sprays.
Taking the Right Tech Steps Now
Although you can't control what happens during storm season, you can help ensure the best outcomes for you and your family. September is a great time to start putting plans in place to make sure you're equipped to protect your tech, your home and your family. For more tips, visit Ready.gov