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.
Access network of 5,600+ audio streams, including Fire, Police, EMS, Aircraft, Ham Radio, Rail, & NOAA Stations.
The ER310 E+READY® compact radio automatically tune to NOAA emergency alerts when you are listening to FM/AM (or nothing). Powered by AAA, solar, or hand crank, and can charge your phone or other items. Include flashlight, and emergency dog whistle (for S&R). 2600 mili-amp hours gives up to 32 hours of normal use (and sizable to charge a phone!)
The items referenced above are for the purposes of public awareness of their functionality respective to an emergency, and not to be mistaken as an endorsement of a product or manufacturer. Individuals are stressed to do their own research when considering tools and products for emergency preparation.