1. Draw a map, shoot it, send it. Trying to send or receive directions to or from a certain location and voice directions just aren’t cutting it? Draw a map on paper, take a picture, and send.
2. Injury photos to the doctor. Suppose you’re in a situation where you can’t get to help and they can’t get to you, and someone’s sick or injured. If there are visible signs or symptoms, your phone camera can relay these to medical personnel who can walk you through whatever treatment is possible where you are.
3. Damage documentation for insurance. In mass catastrophes, it’ll be days or longer before even the first insurance adjusters get there to file claims on your behalf. Photo all the damage you can in case some of it gets repaired or cleaned up before your agent arrives.
4. Report suspicious activity. Are you part of a neighborhood watch group? If you see suspicious activity, you can upload pictures of suspects and the situation to the Police immediately.
5. In an emergency, gathering with the family at a “rendezvous point” is one of the most critical steps you’ll take. If you don’t have a fixed meeting place, you can send pictures of where and what you’re near so the others can find you. This also works well if you’re lost and/or injured in the wilderness and you need to relay pictures of landmarks so Search and Rescue teams can find you.
6. Photo shopping list. If you’re about to stock your pantry in anticipation of an emergency, such as if you’re planning on sheltering-in-place during a hurricane, take a picture of your pantry as a quick way to list things you need from the store.
7. Driving directions. If you’re trying to tell others where a certain location is, such as an emergency shelter, you can send them a picture by picture set of driving directions. This is another good thing to create while putting your family reaction plan together.
8. “Meet this person.” Let’s say your family had to evacuate, and they know the address they’re supposed to head to, but not everyone has met the family emergency contact person. Send them a picture of the person they’re supposed to meet, or you can send your contact person some pictures of the people heading their way.
9. Last minute property inventory. Just as you’d photo the family in anticipation of an emergency, you should do the same with your property. If you’re about to evacuate, snap some quick shots of your property to include any new purchases not included in your last full home inventory, and to show the current condition of your property in general.
10. “Adventure” journal. Who says every potential disaster situation has to be a total disaster? One way to look at it is as an adventure. Take some pictures to record what you do, the places you go during evacuation, people you meet along the way, etc.
11. Situational severity. In a large-scale emergency, first responders will be spread thin and overworked. They might not have anyone to send to get you out of a partly-flooded neighborhood, or to help put out a tiny grass fire. However, the situation might actually be worse than they understand, and you might need some serious help. Sending a picture of just how bad the situation is might help.
12. Quick text messaging. Time is critical in an emergency and so are communications. You might not have enough time to punch in a text message, and the lines might not be open long enough for a conversation. If that’s the case, write a note on paper, take a picture, and send that.
13. Minor traffic mishap documentation. If you have a minor fender-bender while evacuating, and there are no injuries and no one’s car needs to be towed, most jurisdictions will tell you to “swap info and move along.” If that’s the case (always call 911 to ask and make sure), take photos of the vehicular damage, people involved, witnesses at the scene (and their car tag numbers), and if your phone has video, take video of others involved in the accident to show their injuries (or lack thereof).
14. Wallet backup. Just as you’d photograph family members and property, take pictures of your wallet’s contents (or important documents) in order to record numbers, and show that cards actually are or were in your possession. Be very careful when storing or transmitting these pictures as the info is very sensitive and can be used for identity theft!
15. Inclement weather reporting. If you’re the first one to see the funnel cloud, heavy hail, or a river starting to overflow, sending a picture in to the weather service or proper authorities is undeniable and rapid proof that severe weather or other emergency is occurring.
Be Smart and Be Aware