Other than the widespread and tragic destruction and dislocation caused by Hurricane Sandy and the follow-on snowstorm, what struck me most about the aftermath of the storm was the large scale disruption of the communications infrastructure in the areas most affected by the storm, and the resulting adverse impact on communications among family, friends, customers and governmental authorities.
With power outages over much of the east coast, the means of communication on which we are accustomed to rely were significantly disrupted. For many, if not most of my clients, especially in New Jersey, but in surrounding states as well, that meant no e-mail and no TV; and, for those with telephone service provided by their cable company, no telephone.
The result was to make it difficult to contact insurers, to access information about disaster assistance, to file claims and to receive important information from local governments. My town has a robust and effective reverse 911 system that provided continuous and useful information, but township officials were frustrated by their inability to reach a large number of residents and businesses because landlines were disrupted.
My take-away from all this: Get a smartphone. Now. With a smartphone, you can send and receive e-mail, access the web, and (this is key) send and receive text messages.
However, a smartphone is useful only if its battery is charged. In my area, there were several locations where residents could re-charge cell phones and laptops, but the widespread power outages and the fragility of early repair efforts limited the utility of this service. Fortunately, there are affordable and portable charging solutions widely available. Here are three: (1) Duracell Powerpack 600; $130.00; available at stormprepare.com (321) 549-7321; (2) Brookstone Portable Power Supply; $239.99; available at brookstone.com; (866) 576-7337; and (3) FRX3 Eton Emergency Radio; $60.00; available at the Red Cross Store, redcrossstore.org, (877) 400-2286.
I’m not giving up law for sales and marketing; my business is providing solutions, advice and counsel, none of which are very useful if they can’t be delivered.