A smarter way to use your smartphone during disaster

If you’ve flipped on the Weather Channel in the last few hours you have likely been flooded by Hurricane Irene weather updates.

Hurricanes are unique because they can usually be predicted days or sometimes even weeks in advance. Evacuating and having emergency food kits are good safety measures, but you can also prepare by limiting your smartphone use.

You want to make sure family and friends are safe. Here are a few ways to do it without bogging down the network.

Text, don’t call

Making a phone call uses more data and puts more stress on cell phone towers. Leave the airwaves open as much as possible for emergency personal. When you want to get ahold of someone quickly it’s often a first instinct to call them. While texting might take a little longer and require a little back-and-forth time, it will free-up the network for people who are in true need of help and rescue.

Send email

WiFi is abundant in most areas. If you have 3G or access to wireless internet, try emailing instead of calling. Email is sort of old-school but it gets the job done and you aren’t limited to 140 characters. Plus, smartphones have email built in, so you don’t even need a computer.

Check social media sites

SM is wonderful for many reasons; like checking up on your buddies, your mom and your gal. Look at their latest foursquare checkins, twitter posts, or facebook updates to make sure all your loved ones are safe.

Point being, there are several ways to see what your peeps are up to. Get creative, but whatever you do, stay safe, and avoid making calls whenever possible.