Maybe for day-to-day communications, phone calls and texts will suffice, but in an emergency, the cellular network quickly becomes saturated due to all-at-once connections, if not degraded or 'down' due to the emergency itself. It is important to discover and acquire alternate channels of communications with those you most need to contact in an emergency. Does Twitter and Facebook reach your loved ones? Is an email practical without normal electricity? Maybe you just need to GET information rather than send? While no one option is the best for any one circumstance, having an assortment of communication options, which are ready to activate at a moment's notice, can mean the difference between a critical connection, or being MIA. Texts and calls may work, and may be good enough, but its good to have alternatives in various forms. See our lists of suggested:
This Red Cross all-inclusive app lets you monitor more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts, each of varying degrees (notice, watch, warnings, etc). Monitor multiple locations. Send "I'm safe" notifications. Maps function includes established Red Cross shelters available. Available in iTunes and Google Play store, or text: "GETEMERGENCY" to 90999.
Slack can be configured to connect small or large groups. Slack accounts can be accessed from phone or computer.