Preparing for emergencies used to be relatively straightforward. You could keep a blanket, jump cables, and a few snacks in your car. You could hide a key underneath a planter, or put tags on your dog and hope for the best if you got separated.
Now, there are thousands of digital options available. Instead, you can remotely start your car from your smartphone, unlock your home digitally, and put a GPS collar on your dog. Technology has revolutionized our approach to preparing for the worst.
No matter how tech-savvy you are, it’s hard to stay up-to-date with emerging technologies. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, think about your priorities. If you live in Arizona, you don’t need to think about making digital preparations for hurricane season. But no matter where you live, it’s a great idea to learn how to program an emergency contact in your phone.
These innovations in emergency response mean that more lives are being saved. From data sharing to social media, people are increasingly interconnected. This has been a huge advantage for emergency rescuers. If someone goes missing on a hiking trip, what was the last photo they posted on their Instagram account? Is their phone on, which can help rescuers track their GPS signals? If a child gets kidnapped, an amber alert sent out to every single cell phone can help track them down.
These emergency response technologies have proved to be lifesavers. As technology continues to evolve, though, you can use it to your advantage. For instance, what about street lights? In the old days, cities used to hire lamplighters. Every night as dusk fell, they’d circle the city and light each lamp for pedestrians, carriages, and horseback riders. As dawn came, they’d extinguish the lamps.
These days, intelligent street lamps are on the rise. These lamps adapt to movement from pedestrians, cars, cyclists, and more. That way, they don’t waste power and help develop a ‘smart city’ grid. It also prevents wasting power if there’s no one around. If the entire city is evacuated thanks to an emergency, and no one is moving, this can help save energy.
Technology has also helped develop GPS during times of crisis. If you’re trying to evacuate, it’s important that you are made aware of real-time road conditions. Is the interstate closed? Is there heavy traffic along a certain route? Maybe there’s a stalled vehicle on the side of the road or speeding traps ahead. If you’re trying to evacuate a certain area quickly, GPS can help.
As you get accustomed to matching your needs to what technology can provide, your disaster preparedness gets much easier. From mass casualty response delivered by drones to automated wildfire protection systems, technology continues to evolve and serve your most urgent needs.