For the most part, the absence of electricity during Hurricane Florence caused the loss of computer internet capabilities. The smartphone became the crisis communications tool for day-to-day situations during and after the storm. Existing community email lists were used primarily for posting status announcements while the Facebook mobile app and other text messaging apps allowed a more interactive exchange with others. The POA community website sent emails each day (on many days, more than once) to help residents with service people lists and to continually share many common concerns.
Using the mobile apps one could read and get contact information for professional restoration services in addition to the services of church groups from New Bern and many states in the Southeast offering free demolition. The mobile apps were also useful in helping to understand the roles of insurance adjusters, county inspectors and FEMA personnel and defined the required sequence of their visits. One of the community email lists offered instructions on how to use the smartphone’s “Personal Hotspot” to bring the internet to life for computer usage.
Having the right smartphone apps during the storm was critical for communications, but behind all this technology were the caring and sharing residents of Fairfield Harbour and its Property Owners Association.
Those smartphones definitely earned their name during this storm!