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
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
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.
AT&T Hurricane Tips (PDF)
Sprint/Nextel Hurricane Preparedness
Updated May 2009