Using Your BlackBerry Smartphone to Stay Prepared for Emergencies at Home and at Work

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[Image © Copyright Albert Bridge and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License)

It’s clear that those who use BlackBerry® smartphones and BlackBerry® PlayBook tablets like to get things done. As RIM CEO Thorsten Heins shared during the BlackBerry World™ 2012 keynote, “BlackBerry is about saving time, and it’s about success.” We’re people who like to think ahead and enjoy feeling prepared – whether it’s with the right information heading into a meeting or, as I’m discussing today, being ready for the unexpected.

Fire departments, regional police, and community programs have long proposed the idea of having an emergency plan for your family and home. In business, we have the concept of business continuity to stay cool and collected in the face of any number of unfortunate incidents. Your BlackBerry smartphone – and a ton of fantastic apps – can help accomplish these goals both at home and at work. Let’s take a look at how you can stay prepared for emergencies.

Connectivity

I once had a member of government speak to me on Twitter® about how he was able to use his BlackBerry device to coordinate emergency efforts during mass flooding. There are countless other examples of this, such as right here in Ontario when the city of Thunder Bay declared a state of emergency – BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM™) and social networks were used to help coordinate and help those without food, water, or shelter. The connectivity of BlackBerry smartphones helps to keep you in touch with those who matter — not just when you’re having fun, but also when things go sideways and having a connection is critical.

Plans and Checklists

Planning ahead is the real key to being prepared for emergencies. Since you carry your smartphone with you most places that you go, what better place to contain that plan for quick reference? You can work through the many guides and templates to create your own emergency plan and then store it for access via Documents To Go® or Adobe® PDF Reader, or you can leverage the many emergency-focused apps available in the BlackBerry App World™ storefront. For example:

Business Continuity

Business continuity helps your organization ensure that critical functions can continue in the face of disasters, emergencies, or unexpected shifts due to uncontrollable circumstances. If your organization hasn’t yet considered implementing a plan for this, don’t delay any further. The Business Continuity Institute states in their 2012 Q2 magazine that in a survey of industrial industries, “only 53% of respondents were confident that they could recover quickly in the event of a disaster.” (2012 Acronis Disaster Recovery Index)

Mobility should be a key aspect of this type of planning, as rapid and secure communication is critical to successful execution. If you have a business continuity plan, it shouldn’t be in a binder in the bottom drawer, but accessible from wherever you are. The plan can be stored on your intranet, as local documents on your BlackBerry smartphone or BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, or can even manifest as a custom app deployed by your business.

Many business continuity plans contain emergency contacts that need to be immediately notified of the situation. Consider labeling these in your BlackBerry smartphone’s address book, or even creating a BBM group for mass communication even in the event of your mail server kicking the bucket.

Protect your infrastructure

Lastly, it’s important that your technology, and the investments that you’ve put into it, stays in secure working order. Backing up data off-site is one of many best practices for ensuring the integrity of your digital assets. BlackBerry Technical Support Services can also help if you’re an enterprise using BlackBerry Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions. This can include relationship-based support with regular visits by a technical resource.

I’ve only discussed the tip of the iceberg here in terms of how you can stay prepared for emergencies both at home and at work. What are your ideas? How does your smartphone factor into your plan to face the unexpected?

About Luke Reimer

@Luke_Reimer is an Enterprise Marketing Manager at BlackBerry helping to design, launch, and manage enterprise marketing programs - particularly concerning content across digital mediums. Beyond spreading BlackBerry goodness in enterprise communities, you can find Luke cooking up a storm, out on his motorcycle (when Canadian weather allows), or digging into a good science fiction book.

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