Phones During an Emergency

Written by The Ready Store

By The Ready Store

Communication is one of the most important things during an emergency. If can provide you peace of mind and help you to know what to expect moving forward.

Before an emergency
If you know that a natural disaster is coming, make sure that your phone is all charged up. TechnoBuffalo – a technology outlet, recommends that you leave phones plugged in during an emergency unless it’s a thunderstorm. If there is some type of surge, you don’t want your phone to get zapped too. (Read the TechnoBuffalo article.)

80s cell phoneIt’s also very helpful to prepare other members of your family before an emergency on how to communicate. Collect a list of emergency contacts and make sure that you and your children have the list in your phones.

Talk to your children, and designate, an emergency contact person. It’s preferred that it be someone outside of your regional area. If you have family that live in another state, they would make great emergency contacts.

During an emergency
If your family has a plan, they should only have to communicate to tell you that they are OK and they will meet you in the emergency spot. The Federal Communication Commission recommends the following points:

  • Limit non-emergency phone calls. This will minimize network congestion, free up “space” on the network for emergency communications and conserve battery power if you are using a wireless phone;
  • Keep all phone calls brief. If you need to use a phone, try to use it only to convey vital information to emergency personnel and/or family;
  • For non-emergency calls, try text messaging, also known as short messaging service (SMS) when using your wireless phone. In many cases text messages will go through when your call may not. It will also help free up more “space” for emergency communications on the telephone network;
  • If possible try a variety of communications services if you are unsuccessful in getting through with one. For example, if you are unsuccessful in getting through on your wireless phone, try a messaging capability like text messaging or email. Alternatively, try a landline phone if one is available. This will help spread the communications demand over multiple networks and should reduce overall congestion;
  • Wait 10 seconds before redialing a call. On many wireless handsets, to re-dial a number, you simply push “send” after you’ve ended a call to redial the previous number. If you do this too quickly, the data from the handset to the cell sites do not have enough time to clear before you’ve resent the same data. This contributes to a clogged network;
  • If in your vehicle, try to place calls while your vehicle is stationary; (Read the original article.)

Imagine you are lost in the forest and your cellphone battery just died. There are a number of items that could help you out in this situation. There are a number of flashlights/radios in the industry that have charging inputs. You can purchase a handcrank flashlight/radio or purchase solar panels. The handcrank is the cheaper solution (but the solarpanels will make you feel like a Jedi!).

Updated January 31, 2012

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