Technology has made it easier than ever to prepare for emergencies, but it can be unreliable in an emergency if your gadgets are not protected and powered up.

Here are some tips to make sure you are tech ready:

Cyber Protection

  • Visit UMass IT for tips on how to protect your computer. 
  • Use anti-virus and anti-malware software. Visit IT Security Center for available products.
  • Update your computer's software and operating system as soon as upgrades become available. 
  • Use good password practices, such as:
    • Use unique passwords with a variety of alpha-numeric characters. 
    • Do not include personal information, such as name or date of birth.
    • Avoid reusing passwords in multiple applications. 
  • Use UMass Networks for your campus wireless connections

Stay Informed

  • Sign up for UMass Amherst Emergency Alerts
  • Download the FEMA app for weather alerts
  • Keep a handheld radio in your emergency kit
    • If you want to get up-to-date information when the internet is down, or you want to preserve your phone’s battery, a portable transistor radio is a great alternative. 

Make a Plan

  • Use text messages, social media, and email to connect with friends and family during emergencies
    • Mobile networks can become overwhelmed during emergencies, making it hard to make and get phone calls. Text messages require less bandwidth, which means they are able to be transmitted more reliably during situations when many people are trying to use their mobile phones at the same time.
    • Social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter can also be an effective way to update family and friends during emergencies. Facebook’s Safety Check feature allows users to easily post a status update indicating that they are safe during a time of disaster.
  • Register with American Red Cross’ Safe & Well site to let family and friends know you’re okay. Concerned family and friends can search this list to find their loved one’s name, an “as of” date and a message from you.

Have an Emergency Kit

  • Back up charging option for your phone and other mobile devices. Smartphones have become a vital tool to get emergency alerts and warnings so it’s important to make sure you can keep them powered up in an emergency
    • If you know severe weather is coming, charge your phone in advance.
    • Keep a portable phone charger handy
    • Change the settings on your phone to low power mode to conserve battery life
  • Store important documents on a secure, password-protected jump drive or in the cloud.
    • Store printed copies of documents such as social security card, phone numbers, prescriptions in waterproof containers.
  • Sign up for direct deposit and electronic banking through your financial institution so you can access your paycheck and make electronic payments wherever you are.