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Cell Phones

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					                                     Cell Phones
TOP TIPS

      Wireless calls travel over airwaves to another phone, and just like radios, they can
       be obstructed by bad weather.
      Residents can maximize their wireless service during an emergency situation by
       being prepared and following a few simple tips.
      Weather updates are available from most cell phones.

BEFORE THE STORM

      Program all of your emergency contact numbers into your cell phone, including the
       police department, fire station, hospital and family members. You don't want to have
       to search for these important numbers during or after an emergency.
      Make sure everyone who needs your wireless number has it.
       Have a family communications plan in place. Designate someone out of the area as a
       central contact, and be sure all family members know who to contact if they become
       separated.
      Keep your wireless phone and back-up batteries charged at all times. Have an
       alternate plan to recharge your batteries in case of power outages. For example, you
       can charge with a car charger, or use a disposable cell phone battery.
      Use your camera phone to take and store photos of your property “before the
       storm.”

DURING THE STORM

      Keep your wireless phone dry and protected from the elements.
      In the event of an evacuation, forward your home number to your wireless number.
       Call forwarding is based out of the telephone central office, so you will get incoming
       calls from your land line phone, even if local service is disrupted at your home,
       unless the central office is isolated.
      Use your phone only for necessary calls, leaving lines open for emergency calls.

AFTER THE STORM

      Call volume increases significantly during and after an emergency. When more
       people try to call at the same time, increased calling volume may create network
       congestion. Network congestion can cause “fast busy” signals from wireless phones
       during times of heavy usage. Or, you may receive a message that says “Your call
       cannot be completed at this time.” If you hear this message, simply hang up, wait a
       few seconds and retry.
      Wait 10 seconds before redialing. This allows your original call data to clear the
       network before you try again.
      As an alternative to a phone call, try text messaging. Many times, in an emergency
       situation, text messages will go through quicker than voice calls.
      Use your camera phone to take, store and send photos of your damaged property to
       your insurance company.

RELATED RESOURCES

      AT&T Hurricane Tips (PDF)
      Sprint/Nextel Hurricane Preparedness

Updated May 2009

				
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