I have a friend who lives in south Florida who is facing evacuation and anticipating Hurricane Irma, the most powerful storm on record. There are two free ways to keep in touch while a natural disaster strikes - one may not work like people are thinking. 

You don't know who you know until you go on Facebook before disaster hits and you see friends who live in the disaster area. Then freak out. Now, all of a sudden, you're obsessed with what they are posting, knowing where they are and making sure they're safe. I have a friend, Jennie, who lives near Tampa and she posted on Facebook that her friends should download Zello to keep in touch with her should wifi go out or they lose power.

So I did a little research.

credit: Zello

 

If you don't have wifi, this "walkie-talkie app" will work great and not use a lot of data from your plan. It's something people used during Hurricane Harvey.

There's a problem with this, though. What if there are no cell towers from the storm?

If Zello is working on your phone then your phone is also likely working. You can text and call just the same. No matter what, check in with friends and family to make sure they are okay. Figure out a plan (if you can) on how to keep in touch.

In the meantime, Safety Check on Facebook has been activated for Hurricane Irma. It's a great way for people to let you know they are safe.

Social media can be used for so much good (though we hear about the bad) and connect us all in a way it was intended.