Get Ready, Get Thru with a little help from your iPhone

Get Ready Get Thru

Approximately 6 months ago Steve wrote a post on the site titled How my iOS devices helped us in the quake and how they could save your life. As I sit here writing this I find it hard to believe that I would have ever been typing a post (let alone a second one on the site) about how you can ‘Get Ready’ and ‘Get Thru’ a natural disaster such as an earthquake (with a little help from your iPhone).

Being originally from England, Steve and I aren’t used to earthquakes, volcanoes or tsunamis and if you had said to me 12 years ago that I would one day be sat here writing this I would have laughed at you, for one there was no such thing as an iPhone (in fact there was no ‘i’ anything then) and two, as if I would be living in New Zealand.

But here I am, in Christchurch, with an iPhone going through what has been undoubtedly the scariest time of my life, as I am sure it has been for all our Christchurch readers. I am so fortunate that I have not lost my home, my job, and I am very fortunate to have not lost any loved ones. I also consider myself to be fortunate to be in a position to be able to write this post and perhaps help a small number of you in the future, god forbid any of us should need it.

In the last 6 months, as you are all fully aware, Christchurch has had two major earthquakes, one more devastating than the other but both horrifying.  Although you can never fully prepare, below you will find a reminder of Steve’s tips and a quick look at a new app called “I Get Thru”.

Before that though a mention. I would like to give a mention to @TelecomNZ, @VodafoneNZ, @2degreesmobile and @TelstraClearNZ. Your networks, all of them, have been outstanding. As much as we sometimes complain, the networks were there when we needed them, so thank you. I would also like to mention @GeoNet and @NZcivildefence without whom we wouldn’t know what was happening. Equally, @nzHerald, @NZStuff@Tv3NZ and @TVNZNews have kept us up to date throughout and finally @ChristchurchCC have not only kept us well informed, but have also created the Canterbury Earthquake site and enabled an iPhone version (using wordpress and WPTouch) to feed us our info.

You will notice that all of the above are Twitter addresses. Why? Because for me, Twitter has come in to its own with the recent events and in my opinion, everyone should get an account, download the app to their iPhone and subscribe to those accounts above. You don’t need to like Twitter, you don’t even need to ‘Tweet’ but in both quakes what we’ve seen is that even when voice calls are overloading, the data networks are the one form of communication that seem to keep going, and the information on those feeds can literally save lives.

Below is the list of Steve’s recommendations from the September quake. They still apply, all of them, and added to that list is the ‘IGetThru‘ app.

Get Ready Get Thru... get this app

Whilst the app is not related to the Get Ready Get Thru government website it does contan all the essential information you need.  IGetThru was built after the Christchurch earthquake, so that people are prepared for future disasters.

Emergency Checklist

The app gives you an Emergency Checklist to ensure you have everything you need with calendar reminders to ensure you don’t forget anything. The checklist has items that you might need in an emergency and existing items can be changed or removed and new items can be added to any of the categories. And as you can see from the image above it tells you how many items you are still missing.

Item Detail

For those items that expire after a certain amount of time (e.g. bottled water), IGetThru adds reminders to your iPhone calendar.

IGetThru Request

It gives you real time location of friends and relatives on a map so that you can easily track where they are at any given time (they have to authorise this) and with this it also allows you to broadcast your location.

Meeting Points

You can define up to two meeting points so that you are pre-prepared in case you are unable to return to your home or usual meeting place.


And finally it gives you emergency tips such as Drop, Cover and Hold or to stay outside if you are already outside, and gives you detailed information on these tips.

That’s just a quick look at the app. Needless to say you should download it now and get on with getting you emergency kit sorted. Don’t do the usual ‘I’ll get it sorted next week’, get it sorted now! More information on the app can be found here. Download Link below.

App Store – IGetThru

Steve’s Tips

  • Think you don’t need a case for your iPhone or iPad? Think how hard you’d be kicking yourself if they had broken screens when you needed them the most.
  • If you hate the fact that you need to charge your iPhone daily and like to stretch it out to two days if you can, stop. Charge your phone every night, and if you’re near a charging dock during the day, put it on charge again. If the worst happens and power fails, you’ll be glad to have a full battery.
  • Keep an external power pack somewhere safe so that you can top-up in the event of a prolonger power outage.
  • Keep a USB adapter and spare USB lead in the glove compartment of your car. That way you can recharge your devices in your vehicle if need be.
  • When disaster hits, adjust the functions on your device to reduce power consumption as much as possible. Switch off Bluetooth and WiFi, turn your screen brightness down to the minimum, and if you’re on Vodafone or 2degrees switch off 3G data and use the lower-powered 2G data network instead.
  • If you have more than one iOS device in your family consider signing up to MobileMe as the ‘Find My iPhone’ service and app can be incredibly useful for locating eachother or for finding the other device if it can’t be found. (Amendment since original post: MobileMe subscription no longer required. -Dan)
  • Make sure you have apps that can help you communicate installed, particularly the likes of Skype for VOIP, which can help you call even when the voice network is jammed. A good instant messaging app (like Windows Live Messenger) can help you get through to friends or family in other cities if you have a number of contacts, and a Twitter client will allow you to receive important updates from the Civil Defense (@nzcivildefence) and news outlets.
  • Install a good first-aid app on your mobile. There are plenty available, and if one of your loved ones is hurt or injured they can quite literally save lives. St Johns Ambulance NZ have a great app for dealing with CPR, plenty of others including Phone Aid will walk you through a miriad of other situations.
  • If you belong to a social network like Facebook or MySpace, use it to keep your friends and family updated. You can also ask your contacts to get messages to other relatives who may not use social networking on your behalf.
  • Keep scanned copies of important personal documents such as insurance policies etc. on file storage services such as iDisk or Dropbox. Make sure you have the app for whichever service you use on your device, and keep cached copies of the most important documents. If you lose the paper documents, at least you have electronic copies that you can access from the internet.

Although I haven’t written about Japan in this post clearly the devastation there is unthinkable, even for us in Christchurch. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan and any of you who may have been affected by this tragedy in some way.

Have I missed any tips you think would help? Let us know in the comments below.

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One Comment

  1. Taika says:

    Since the last big one I always carry some cash, definitely put some in the kit, and keep the car at least quarter full. I also keep my running shoes in the car while I’m at work, I’d probably keep a pair at work if it wasn’t possible to park outside.

    (Taika has made 15 comments)

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