Today, as the hurricane season officially begins, it is good to review a few planning ideas essential for safety, particularly relating to communications during an emergency. The following are a few tips to consider in preparation of the storm:
Have a Plan Now
- You should have a plan for protecting your family and coordinating with each other in an emergency. Emergencies are of different kinds, so plan broadly. Food, water, shelter, first aid, batteries, flashlights and communications are important to arrange for in advance. You should also agree on a rendezvous point, how to get there, and some choices on how to contact family members.
Get the Right Information
- Broadcast media and trusted Internet sources can give you the most accurate, timely information on the crisis, what government officials are asking you to do, and what your choices for transportation and communications are. Having a battery-powered radio is a great way to get up-to-date information, in case of a power outage.
Know How to Communicate
- E-911. Traditional telephone services and most wireless services and telephone wireless devises now have emergency-911 capabilities. These services should be consumers’ first choice for getting emergency help. Remember, fire, police and emergency health providers get priority on the network during a crisis.
- Congestion. Emergencies can overload traditional telecommunications networks and block everyone’s call from going through. When calling friends and family, please make only essential calls and keep your calls short. Since traditional telephone networks can become easily congested during an emergency, consumers should try sending messages using email, text and instant messages. These are great alternatives to traditional telephone calling, because they transmit messages when there is a short lull in the network congestion. Messages can be sent using telephone, wireless, broadband, and satellite communication networks.
- Power Outages. In the event of a power outage, traditional telephone services should continue to work for several hours, provided that you have an older style telephone that does not need to be connected to your electrical outlet. For example, during a power outage, electronically powered telephone devises, such as portable telephones, will not operate, but your mother’s old princess telephone probably does work.
- Mobile. Cellular phones are a mobile communications alternative when cell sites are running. There are battery back-ups available that could be purchased. Having a charger in your vehicle is also a must. Make sure your phone is kept charged.
- Before an evacuation. Prepare, plan and communicate in advance of a call for evacuation.
- During an evacuation. Because you have prepared, don’t Delay.
Take a few essentials. Preparation is the key have having something ready in advanced can be a real time saver. Remember to take contact information, like emails and telephone numbers, as well as other key information that might later need to remember but won’t be available to you once you leave your home.