A 93-year-old woman survived Hurricane Sandy, but not before her family went through hell wondering if she was alive, being that her landline was down and she had no cellphone. Lesson learned: Elderly people who live alone should have a cellphone. This technology is available; use it.
With today's technology, it's easier than ever to prepare and plan for disasters. Texting seems more functional than calls when lines are jammed say in a tornado-ravaged town (or the Marathon bombings) with no conventional phone lines, or working lines that are jammed.
Prepare by getting used to texting and making sure all family members are savvy with it. Stage mock disasters by texting from dark closets, traffic jams and outside "buried" in a snowdrift.
Make a list or bookmark the websites for state and local governments, since they will have real-time updates on catastrophes (mud slides, tornadoes, wildfires, etc.). Google "emergency management" for your county or city to get started. Follow local police and other agencies on Twitter and Facebook. Example: the world and media followed the Boston Polices Twitter page all through the bombings all the way to the capture.
Smartphone apps will also keep you updated such as those from the American Red Cross. There are apps for first aid, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires and more, even one for a shelter finder.
Before a calamity hits, stock up on water, non-perishable food, first aid supplies, flashlights, other tools, etc. Consider a cloud storage system for things like insurance cards. Practice accessing it.
Keep cool, stay informed
Don't panic. But at the same time, don't lose sight of the gravity of a situation. People of all ages need to keep pace with evolving technology and use it to your advantage.
Take advantage of today's technology to prepare for disasters-even if it's just to tell a loved-one, "I'm safe."