It's hard to believe that we live in a day in age, where weather and weather data are at our fingertips, on our home pages, on our phone welcome screens, and even in our home automation systems. Gone are the days where the family had to gather around the evening local news, or open the morning newspaper to determine what weather they could be expecting that day.
However, what happens for those of us that travel? How do we keep up with the weather, and most importantly, how do we stay prepared for emergencies while we are living a digital nomadic life? That's what this blog will be discussing - both emergency preparedness and digital awareness.
We'll start off with a discussion about how we keep up with weather related emergencies. If you open the Android Play Store or Apple App Store, you will be greeted with ton's of options for weather alert and weather apps. Each will boast of their superiority, and their supporters or followers, will boast about how their apps are the best, etc.
As digital nomads, we know that not everything you read in a review can be trusted. To truly get a sense for what works best for you, you should try multiple apps out. Then benchmark them against each other and see what works best for you. We've done that and as such, we've created our list of the apps that we all currently use.
1 - Accuweather - Good local performance on weather, and UI is good for updating locations
2 - The Weather Channel - This tends to be our go to, when we are trying to get a sense for the macro level weather in the country
3 - Weather Underground - This tends to be the best when it comes to weather accuracy
4 - WeatherBug - One of the best when it comes to positioning and alerts, and they have a cool widget for your screen
5 - Tornado - This is the Red Cross app, and it frequently doesn't alert when emergencies are issued. However, we've had times where this was the only one to alert, when others did not.
6 - WTForecast - Okay...we admit that we don't use this for any real weather related needs...it is more of a funny app to share pictures with your friends on social media. In case you aren't aware of what this app is...we'll warn you that it is likely not safe for work...but it is comical.
In case you were wondering "Do we use all of these apps, all at the same time?". The short answer is yes. The reason for this is that we've found that much like the local ABC Weather report will vary from the local FOX Weather report, the same holds true for the apps available in the app store. There is no perfect answer...trust us, we've tried pretty much all of them on the market over our many years on the road. The trick is to find one (or more) that you are comfortable with, and then run with it.
I mentioned earlier that we were also going to talk about Emergency Preparedness. For this post, I'm going to talk being prepared when living life on the road when a weather emergency presents itself.
First things first...if you are already living your dream and traveling across the country, I'd like to know if you have a bug-out bag ready to go? If the answer is "no" or "What is a bug out bag?" then we need to answer that, and then each of you need to put your together. If you answered yes, then we commend you.
If you were one of those asking "what is a bug out bag?", it is simply a bag of emergency supplies you can grab running out the door, on your way to the campground bathhouse or tornado shelter. This bag is designed to carry only the absolute essentials. Here are the things we keep in our bug-out bag:
1 - Tactical Style Flashlight - These tend to be brighter and long lasting LED flashlights. We picked one with a torch function, which is good for creating a large cast of light, instead of focusing the beam in one location
2 - Small medical kit - Remember that for your kit, you'll want to find one that has a good assortment of bandages and individual use medicines.
3 - A survival knife, complete with emergency kit (like compass, flint and waterproof matches) - We have a knife that was passed down to us, when I joined the USMC years ago. We've seen multiple options like this on the market.
4 - Copies of important documents, sealed in waterproof bag - We like to also have this bag be fireproof as well, given that it contains vital records.
5 - Crank style weather radio (with flashlight and charging port) - We purposely use the crank style, as you don't have to worry about batteries dying. As long as you can crank the device, you'll have power.
6 - Backup supply of all prescription medication - Make sure that they are sealed in waterproof packaging. It's also a good idea that the medication is labeled, so that you or your relatives can help identify the medication and dosages.
7 - External batteries for cell phone charging - There are so many on the market. Anker is our preferred brand, as their products seem to last forever, and they have high quality control standards. The one we use will charge our cell phones at least 3 times each. This is crucial, in case of long term power outtages
8 - Small baggies of petfood
9 - Tupperware type containers, containing nuts and protein bars
10 - Lifestraw - Clean drinking water is one of the most difficult parts of surviving a disaster. This simple device can help ensure that you have a clean supply of water, no matter the circumstances
11 - Money and extra Credit Cards - This might seem like a no-brainer, but it is one of the most forgotten things, in a bad situation. When a tragedy strikes, you'll be scrambling to get to safety...often times forgetting to grab a wallet or purse. With a small amount of money and some reassurance of a credit card will go a long way to providing comfort
We place these items (as well as a few small comfort items) in a backpack. That backpack sits in a small coat closet in our RV, right by the front door. We believe that this helps us fulfill the Scouts motto of "Always Prepared". If nothing else, at least we feel a bit of comfort knowing that when tragedy strikes, we won't be caught off guard using our litany of weather apps, and that we have the needed items to survive a temporary issue after tragedy.
We hope that you learned something with this post. We'd love to hear your feedback on it. If you have ideas for other topics that you'd like to have discussed in our blog, please share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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