Home and safety preparations for those in Hurricane Matthew’s path should include making Smartphone and other mobile devices storm-ready, according to financial services provider USAA.

“As soon as a hurricane or severe storm becomes a threat, boarding windows and stocking food and water supplies are priority one,” says Odom Wu, executive director of Catastrophe Operations at USAA. “But taking a couple minutes to update your mobile devices with key information can provide an invaluable lifeline and peace of mind in its aftermath.”


Getting the Most from Your Mobile Device Before, During and After a Storm
Extreme weather can disrupt communication channels, making mobile devices essential tools to keep in touch with family as well as with response and recovery efforts. USAA offers these tips to make your mobile device storm-ready:

Create a texting phone tree.
Create a network of contacts so you can reach them quickly after any sort of extreme weather. Texting may be the only available form of communication.

Set up emergency text alerts.
Access to television or radio could be limited. By setting up emergency text alerts with your city or insurer when available, you can increase the chance that you’ll stay connected wherever you are.

Utilize mobile banking apps.
Many banks have developed mobile banking apps for Smartphone that allow people to move money, pay bills and deposit checks from their phones. Having ready access to your funds can save a lot of headaches in the storm’s aftermath.

Take advantage of insurance apps.
Some insurance companies, including USAA, allow their customers to file claims using their Smartphone to quickly start the recovery process.

Download emergency service apps.
Emergency service apps will allow you to access important resources, such as the American Red Cross.

Have a car phone charger and spare battery.
If power is out for an extended period, your car can be a valuable source of energy.

More hurricane preparedness tips can be found on USAA’s Disaster and Recovery Center here.