UPDATE: With Hurricane Sandy just days away from landfall on the East Coast, now is the time to take steps to update or review your family’s emergency communications plan.
Wireless service plays an important part in helping each of us to stay safe and in touch in times of peril, when big storms loom. Verizon Wireless prepares for Hurricane Season by ensuring its network equipment is fortified against strong winds and lashing rains and has backup and emergency power plans in the event public power is affected. The company’s commitment to preparedness, business continuity and disaster recovery enables customers to prepare their own emergency communications plans. Here are some tips for preparing your own wireless emergency plan:
Before the storm:
- Keep wireless phone batteries and backup batteries fully charged in case you lose power. Have a car charger adapter nearby so you can use your fully fueled automobile’s plug-in adapter as a backup power source.
- Make sure smartphones, batteries, chargers and other electronics stay dry by storing them in a sealable plastic bag or in a dry, protected location.
- Maintain in your phone’s contact list all key emergency phone numbers and email addresses – police, fire and rescue agencies; schools and service people; family, friends and co-workers; etc.
- At the first hints of a possible evacuation in your community or place of work, forward home or office phone calls to your wireless number.
- Download important applications on your phone to stay up to date on local news and weather reports as well as key information from public safety organizations. (Data charges may apply).
When the storm hits, make sure to:
- Limit non-emergency calls to save battery power and free up wireless networks for emergency workers and operations and send brief text messages instead. When the network gets busy, texts have a higher chance of getting through the first time and can be more efficient.
- Employ one of the many free online applications available on storefronts such as Verizon Apps and Google Play to help you track the storm, receive alerts, and watch live reports on the latest forecasts and storm-related news.
- Download a flashlight application or widget on your phone for emergency use at home or on the road. (Data charges may apply).
After the storm:
- Use your device’s camera to take, send, and store photos and video of damaged property to send to an insurance agency. Uploading photos with services such as Verizon Wireless Backup Assistant Plus can ensure you have them even if your device is lost or damaged.
- Take advantage of location-based tools such as Verizon Wireless Family Locator to track a family member’s wireless device and stay informed in real-time of a child’s whereabouts.
- Save in your Favorites file important URLs such as the Verizon Wireless Emergency Information Center and other local online resources from your smartphone for information on emergency communication resources and battery charging stations.
With the possibility of severe weather this summer, the ability to contact emergency agencies, family and friends is critical. Putting these quick tips into action will aid communications efforts throughout the Hurricane Season and in other emergency situations.