By Crystal Davis

We’ve all settled comfortably into the steamy, fun and early weeks of summer 2014 – the endless cookouts, fireworks and trips to the beach. However, it’s important to remember how easily wonderful weather can take a turn for the frightening.

We were reminded of this last week with the emergence of Hurricane Arthur, even as the current storm season is projected to be tame overall compared to those of the past.

With this recent bout of heavy wind and rain, Sprint wants to ensure its customers are armed and prepared with the latest technology tips and mobile tools to stay connected and informed during future storms:

  • NextRadio: In the middle of a storm and without local power or a connection to critical news updates? Don’t worry, but be prepared with a free Google Play app for such an event. With NextRadio® – an interactive FM radio application exclusive to Sprint – users can access FM radio broadcasts in their local area through a built-in FM tuner inside their smartphone.

FM radio can deliver important news, information, and be a lifeline to citizens when other communication networks suffer during disaster-related incidents, such as hurricanes. From the LG G2 and Samsung Galaxy S® 5 to the HTC One® (M8) and the Kyocera Hydro Vibe, Sprint, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA have a total of 23 Android-powered smartphones that offer NextRadio’s capabilities.

Download it today and get a head start on your hurricane preparations.

  • Extended Battery Life: Car chargers, extra batteries, and power packs. Whatever your preference, having one or more of these resources in your hurricane prep arsenal is a must. During a severe storm, local electricity might be unavailable, portable generators could be in short supply, and your evacuation route or destination might be low on power outlets. Sprint customers can access an abundant portfolio of charging tools and accessories, so stock up and make sure to fully charge your batteries whenever possible.
  • American Red Cross: If you’re not in harm’s way of a current storm, but have a friend or family member who is, there is something you can do to assist them using your mobile phone. During times of major disasters, the American Red Cross uses mobile donations as another way to support its recovery and relief efforts for impacted residents.

By texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 you can make a $10 donation towards food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires and tornadoes.

  • Texting, Rather than Calling: In addition to mobile donations, it’s typically a good idea to text rather than call your loved ones during a hurricane event. Short Message Service or SMS – the technical term for text messaging – uses fewer resources and can help limit the amount of traffic being carried over a wireless network during times of heavy demand.

You can learn more about Sprint’s overall hurricane preparations at the Sprint Emergency Information Center.

Seeking additional hurricane and emergency prep tips? Check out the following recommendations from the Federal Communications Commission and CTIA-The Wireless Association®.