The critical infrastructure of the United States has come to rely heavily on wireless communications over the past decade. On average, Americans spend about 3.3 hours per day on their cell phones. During emergency situations, these devices are not only a convenience, they are considered a lifeline – sometimes being the only connection a loved one in a disaster stricken area has to the outside world. Not only that, first responders such as firefighters, law enforcement, and paramedics need wireless communications to perform their life-saving jobs.
Anyone who has been affected by natural disaster knows that communication is critical during these times. Here are some tips on how to ensure that you can communicate during a natural disaster — and that others can communicate as well.
- Keep your phone charged – If you know that a winter storm, hurricane, or other natural disaster is headed your way, be sure to keep your phone charged as long as the power is on. Keep an extra battery on hand, just in case. You may also want to keep your laptop or other wireless devices charged so that you may continue to charge your phone via USB cable, if needed.
- Try and conserve battery power on your wireless device during power outages by dimming the screen, turning off unused applications, etc. – check your phone’s manual for more information on how to conserve battery power.
- Limit non-emergency phone calls – This will minimize network congestion and free up space on the network for emergency communications.
- Try to use SMS or text message in place of voice calling. Text messaging uses less bandwidth which means less strain on the network. If you absolutely need to make a phone call, try and keep it brief and only convey important information to emergency personnel or family. Check and see if your area 911 center accepts SMS emergency communications.
- Use 911 only for emergencies. Research your areas other emergency numbers (such as 211 and the Red Cross) for non-life threatening situations.
- Wait 10 seconds before redialing a call – Redialing a wireless call multiple time in quick succession can increase network congestion, further limiting the abilities of all users, not just yourself, from placing calls. If you must make a call, space out your attempts.
- Compile a list of local and national resources that can assist you in natural disasters. Don’t wait until disaster strikes to try and find out who you need to get in touch with!- The Cat5 Emergency Response Team deploying generators to the Carolinas in preparation for Hurricane Arthur.
- Formulate an emergency communications plan with your family: Establish common points of contact including local contacts and contacts residing out of state. These people should be agreed upon prior to a disaster. Your main point of contact can coordinate evacuation efforts and ways to reunite family members with each other after a disaster event.
About Cat5 Resources
Cat5 Resources, based in Nederland, TX provides emergency response management, backup power solutions and maintenance services to commercial and industrial businesses nationwide.