The American Red Cross has determined that the internet is the third most common way people in the U.S. gather emergency information and contact their loved ones during an emergency. Of course, there are a lot of other ways to stay tuned in to emergencies communications—especially since victims of disasters don’t usually have access to the internet right away.  It’s important to know your options and use a variety of resources for your emergency news.

Internet Resources

There are a lot of internet resources you should have bookmarked on all your computers and smart phones in case of an emergency. You can download the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) app to your phone for preparation tips and to receive information on Disaster Recovery Centers during a disaster.

You may also want to include websites like the National Weather Service, Red Cross, and your local office of emergency management (you can find this by searching on or FEMA’s website).

FEMA Texts

One little known resource is FEMA text messaging. You can sign up to receive text message updates to your phone from FEMA. This can be a great option because texts don’t need as much of a signal as a phone call and you’re more likely to have a cell phone signal than access to the internet during an emergency.

You can sign up to receive useful monthly emergency preparedness tips from FEMA by texting PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA). Obviously, standard messaging and data rates apply to these messages. To stop the messages you just text STOP to the same number.

Radio and TV

The most obvious choices for accessing vital emergency communications are radio and TV broadcasts. If your power is out, you can listen to the radio in your car or use a portable radio from your emergency kit.

On that note, it’s a good idea to have alternatives for charging your phone and computer during an emergency. Most devices can be charged with an adapter for your car or you can get a manually operated crank charger.