Options to stay connected

But aren't phone calls and texts good enough?

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:

Priority Tools

Fairfax Alerts

Fairfax Alerts

If we can't reach you, we can't alert you! Stay aware of alerts & emergencies for Fairfax via text and/or email. Register and customize online. Watch this set-up video

Emergency!

 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. 

Smart Phone Tools

FireChat Mesh Network

 FireChat is uses wireless mesh networking via Bluetooth or Wifi to connect without a cellular network.

Slack

Slack can be configured to connect small or large groups. Slack accounts can be accessed from phone or computer.  

Broadcastify

Access network of 5,600+ audio streams, including Fire, Police, EMS, Aircraft, Ham Radio, Rail, & NOAA Stations.

Maps.me Offline maps

Keep routing without a connection. Download maps to use offline.

Zello

Use your phone like a walkie-talkie over the internet.

Smart911

Secure your critical information ahead of a 911 call, and automate when dialed.

Cell phone Extensions

goTenna©

Connect your phone via bluetooth to this device which creates / joins a mesh network for texting and location sharing 

Beartooth©

Beartooth

Similar to the goTenna, but includes voice

Garmin© inReach®

inReach

Stay connected using Satellites. InReach can be used in stand-alone mode without phone.

Emergency Radios

WR-120

Midland WR-120

Midland's WR-120 NOAA Weather & Emergency alert radio. SAME programming sounds an alert only when specific counties are threatened, and for only the selected alerts you choose.  90 dB siren, voice alert, and flashing LED warning systems. 

ER310 E+READY®

ER310 E+READY®

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!)

No endorsements implied

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.