Do you have a smartphone? Maybe a silly question in 2012, but if you do, make sure you're using it to your advantage during the storm.
In addition to the list of suggestions of things you should do today to prep for the worst – you know, just in case – make sure you're connected to the best resources available to you. If we start seeing widespread outages and damage, we will launch a liveblog on all NH Patch sites.
1. Get on Facebook and Twitter.
If you're not already using Facebook and Twitter for your own reasons, consider this: Social media is a hugely popular way to get information out to large groups of people at once. Consider registering for a Facebook or Twitter account simply for storm updates.
2. Follow our list of recommended resources during the storm.
Now that you're on Facebook and Twitter, make sure you're following these resources:
- Patch: Make sure you're following Bedford Patch on Facebook and Twitter. If you're traveling through other local communities, we recommend you also follow Merrimack, Nashua, Amherst and Milford Patches. You can also follow NH Patch on Twitter.
- Public Service of New Hampshire: PSNH is on Facebook and Twitter
- Bedford Police: Bedford Police are on Facebook and Twitter.
- Bedford Fire: Bedford Fire is on Facebook.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): NOAA is on Facebook and Twitter.
- WMUR Channel 9: WMUR is on Facebook and Twitter.
- WMUR Weather: WMUR also has weather-focused Facebook and Twitter accounts.
- Red Cross NH: Red Cross NH is on Facebook and Twitter.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency: FEMA is on Facebook and Twitter.
- The Weather Channel: The Weather Channel is on Facebook and Twitter and has a hurricane track Twitter, too.
3. Make social media lists.
To make following these resources even easier, take advantage of Facebook and Twitter's “list” options. Lists allow you to group certain sites you follow together so that you only see updates from them. It's easy to toggle back and forth between your lists and your regular feeds so you aren't missing out on your friends' updates.
4. Use and follow #NHSandy.
Keep abreast of what people around the state are saying with the Twitter hashtag #NHSandy. If you want a more general Sandy experience, use #Sandy and #HurricaneSandy.
5. Sign up for Nixle alerts.
These can come to your email, get sent to your phone via text or both. Nixle.com is an emergency alert program used by the Bedford police and fire departments to push out information to the public. Go to Nixle.com and sign up for alerts in Merrimack. Its free to sign up, but standard text messaging rates apply if you choose that option.
6. Download these smartphone apps.
Here's a list of recommended apps to have on your phone to keep you in touch and keep you in the loop. Apps are free and available on Android and iPhone unless indicated otherwise.
- Facebook. Keep your friends and newsfeed in your pocket. Get updates from all the folks you just added from the list above.
- Twitter. Little out there is more up-to-the-minute than Twitter. Get it on your phone.
- Hootsuite: Hootsuite allows you to monitor Facebook, Twitter and other social media using just one app. Easy to toggle back and forth between accounts.
- The Weather Channel. Check forecasts, track Sandy and more.
- Patch for iPhone. We'll be keeping you updated on forecasts, safety tips, road closures, power outages and other problems that arise. Get Patch on your iPhone and check it regularly through the day (sorry, we don't have an Android app right now). Look up Patch Media Corp.
- Hurricane by American Red Cross app, it has safety tips, prep tips, etc and weather updates and you can follow where you live and where your kids are if they are away at school or follow where you work.
- Red Cross Shelter: Gives updated shelter information, shares disaster news and other tips. Shelter information updates every 30 minutes.
- Red Cross First Aid: Great for first aid tips in your pocket should you need them.
- Flashlight. While we recommend you have plenty of flashlights and lanterns on hand (open flames are generally a bad idea) it's also helpful to have a flashlight on your phone in a pinch. There are plenty of free flashlight apps in the app store. We recommend the free one by iHandy.
7. Make sure you have these numbers in your phone.
Keep these phone numbers in your phone so you don't have to waste time looking them up.
- Bedford Police: 603-472-5113 (Call 911 in an emergency)
- Bedford Fire: 603-472-3219 (Call 911 in an emergency)
- PSNH (to report an outage): 1-800-662-7764
- Country Inn & Suites Bedford: 800-992-2694
- Hampton Inn and Suites Bedford-Manchester: 855-271-3622
- Ryan O'Connor, your Bedford Patch Editor: 603-322-3203 (text photos and information about outages, downed trees etc. after you've alerted authorities)
- Other numbers you should make sure you've got in your phone: Your insurance agent, a general insurance claims number, your vet and your doctor.
Forecasts are saying the worst of Sandy's effects should hit Monday during the day. Meteorologists are warning of a couple inches of rain and high wind gusts in the 40 mph hour range.
WHDH Meteorologist Jeremy Reiner said the speed of the wind isn't as great a concern as the duration of the wind, expected to last over several hours and bring down trees and power lines.
Remember, if a tree takes down wires near your house, do not touch the tree or the wires, as they may still be live. Call PSNH and report any outage, even if you think your neighbors already have. This is especially important, as has been learned in past storms. The way Bedford's grid is set up, with power feeding in from Nashua, Merrimack and Milford, houses on the same street aren't always on the same line. It's PSNH's job to collect power outage information, so don't by shy.
For all of our Hurricane Sandy coverage, click here.