The Challenge With Emergency Mobile Apps: They Require Electricity
by Max Kalehoff, Oct 30, 2012, 11:34 AM
I’m writing on Tuesday morning, Oct. 30, from my home office in Westchester County, New York, only a few blocks from Long Island Sound.
I surveyed the town in my Jeep Wrangler and saw downed trees and loose power lines everywhere. In fact, two drivers, in separate incidents early this morning, totaled their cars by driving straight into a fallen oak tree on my street. Fortunately, it seems like the harbor and waterfront homes were mostly spared from the surging tide.
As one of only a handful of homes in my town that hasn't lost power, I'm getting requests from neighbors to stop by and charge their dead phone batteries and take showers. They're expected to have no power for at least a few days.
All this has underscored the irony of all our high-tech consumer emergency and weather mobile apps, as well as advanced storm tracking visualizations for television. Despite all their hype leading up to the storm, they simply don’t matter for storm victims who lose electricity or telecommunications infrastructure.
That's why I have a few handy wind-up Energizer gadgets that pack a flashlight, strobe light and terrestrial radio receiver. (It would be nice if it also made espresso!) It’s so low-tech, but it’s never let me down. My family didn't need these gizmos during the storm, but I'm now lending a few to those who could use them.
If you’re on the East Coast, practice prudence, stay safe and be patient with one another!
It's a mess out there, and things will be slow-moving for some time.