Staying Connected When Disaster Strikes by primusboy

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									Staying Connected When Disaster Strikes
Disasters, both man - made and natural, are a part of our every day life.
It seems that every time you turn on the news there are tornadoes,
bombings, tsunamis, earthquakes, fires and hurricanes ripping through
cities and destroying lives. All of these disasters put stress on the
state of our mental and emotional health as well as on the state of our
businesses and economy as a whole. For families and businesses affected
by a disaster, recovering and rebuilding can never start soon enough.
Communication is one of the first things that needs to be established in
any emergency. Unfortunately, it is also usually one of the first things
to go down.
On September 11th, 2001, the collapse of the World Trade Center damaged a
major local phone central office. There were thousands of people and
businesses without phone service, without communication. Almost a month
after hurricane Katrina, there were still nearly 350,000 customers
without phone service. As if the devastation of lives and people lost
were not enough, without phone service, people were not able to connect
with their friends and loved ones. Business owners were not able to
conduct business, losing thousands of dollars in revenue needed to help
them rebuild their lives. By planning ahead for the next disaster, some
of these families and businesses would be able to have an emergency back
up communications system in place that would allow them to start
communicating right away. An emergency back up phone system should have:
a toll free number, outgoing and incoming message capabilities, be
located out of your area, and be virtual with web based access.
A toll free number is going to allow anyone from any location, even a pay
phone, to call into that number free of charge. For those people
considering an emergency phone system for their family, you need to
consider the possibility that you and your family may get separated
during a disaster. If this happens, they may be able to find a pay phone
and leave a message at the toll free number about their status and
location. A local number is going to require a pocketful of change that
they might not have on them. For businesses, the same may be true. If
your employees need to call in to get status updates or check in with
you, a toll free number will let them do so regardless of where they end
up making that call from.
A phone system with outgoing messaging capabilities is going to be
important in any number of scenarios. One situation where outbound
messaging would be useful is when you are able to call out, but others
cannot call in. For example, in a lock down situation where phone lines
are not disabled, but you are not able to field calls from concerned
parties, a status update can be left as an outgoing message. Another
example would be a business that is still operating from their location,
but the phone lines to their direct location are down. They can let their
customers know they are still there to serve them.
With inbound voicemail capabilities, an emergency phone system can be
used as a place to check in. With one central place to call and report
status to your friends, family, business associates, etc. there will be
less confusion. Everyone can use one toll free number and leave voicemail
messages letting others know that they are okay and where they are.
The necessity of having your emergency phone system hosted by a company
outside of your area is a smart idea for obvious reasons. If they are
down the street from you when the disaster strikes, they are not going to
be in any better shape than you are. If however, they are hundreds of
miles away, they will be untouched by the emergency and ready to handle
your calls. This is also why you will want your toll free number to be
virtual.
A virtual phone number is not tied to one place. It is not affected by
anything that happens to your local phone lines. A virtual phone number
will be able to be forwarded to any other local number you wish. So, if
your local lines are damaged but you have cell service, you can forward
calls that come into your virtual toll free number to your cell phone.
This would also allow you to transfer calls to a satellite office that
was unaffected by the disaster so that they can continue to serve
clients. A virtual toll free number will also be able to receive an
unlimited number of calls at one time. In times of an emergency, you do
not want people getting busy signals.
Lastly, with a virtual number you will be able to change forwarding
numbers, load recordings, and check voicemail messages online. A scenario
when this would be useful is if your headquarters are located at the
heart of the disaster area, but you have other offices in an unaffected
area. In this situation, someone can remotely access the virtual
emergency phone system, activate it, upload outgoing messages to update
callers on the status of the situation, give them direction of what to do
next, enter in phone numbers where calls can be forwarded and received,
etc.
Nobody wants to think about the possibility of disaster striking them
where they work and live. However, the past few years have shown us that
it is a very real possibility that we need to be prepared for. One of the
major things that families and businesses alike need to consider is how
they are going to maintain communications with friends, family,
customers, employees and the world at large in an emergency. An emergency
phone system will give you the ability to leave a message for others
letting them know you are okay or open for business, allow others to
leave voicemail messages that can be accessed by multiple users, have
your calls forwarded to another location that has working phone service,
and more. When a disaster strikes, the faster you can start
communicating, the faster you can start moving forward again.
Brandi Cummings, an expert in the field of virtual telecommunications,
recommends checking out http://www.Freedom800.com, a leading provider of
virtual emergency phone systems.

								
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