In compiling the story we just published about the 4 major carriers preparing for the threat of Hurricane Irene, all four carriers sent over important tips for customers. What’s interesting is that all four carriers offer very similar tips so we are sure they are great.
So if you’re in the path of Hurricane Irene, first make sure you and your family are safe and that you have enough supplies to make it through. If you need to stop reading thedroidguy for a bit that’s ok. We’ll be here our travel schedule has us pretty much out of the path of Hurricane Irene of course Thedroidguy’s family is right in the center of it. So for the tips hit the jump!
- Keep phones, batteries, chargers and other equipment in a dry, accessible location. Consider waterproof accessories or simple zip-lock storage bags to protect devices.
- Keep wireless phone batteries fully charged – in case local power is lost – well before warnings are issued.
- Have additional charged batteries and car-charger adapters available for backup power.
- Maintain a list of emergency numbers – police and fire agencies; power and insurance companies; family, friends and co-workers; etc. – and program them into your phone.
- Distribute wireless phone numbers to family members and friends.
- Download applications from a wide variety of weather- and safety-related apps for smartphones, tablets and other devices. Many of these apps are free.
- Use a service such as Backup Assistant, the free Verizon Wireless application that stores a phone’s address book on a secure server in case the phone is lost or damaged.
- Limit non-emergency calls to conserve battery power and free up wireless networks for emergency agencies and operations.
- Send brief text messages rather than voice calls for the same reasons as above.
- Forward your home phone calls to your wireless number if you evacuate.
- Check weather and news reports on wireless phone applications when power is out.
Verizon also offers these tips for their wireline customers
- Customers who rely solely on cordless phones in their home should consider purchasing an inexpensive hard-wired phone that plugs directly into a wall jack. Cordless phones will not function without commercial power.
- While home answering machines do not work without power, Verizon voice mail service powered by the network will help families communicate.
In order to better facilitate communication between families and loved ones, and to alleviate
anticipated network congestion before, during and after any storm, T-Mobile recommends its
customers follow these important tips:
Use text messaging to communicate instead of voice calls. Text messaging has a greater success rate in getting through the network during high-usage periods versus voice calls. Keep your voice calls short in duration.
Make sure your phone is fully charged prior to the storm. Consider obtaining a vehicle charger in the event of power loss.
For T-Mobile Customer Care assistance, please visit http://my.t-mobile.com, call 611 from your T-Mobile handset, or dial 1-800-937-8997.
- Send text messages when possible. Wireless networks sometimes experience heavy call traffic during emergency events. In the same general time period it takes to complete a call, approximately 30 to 50 text messages can be transmitted.
- Charge and backup. Keep your wireless phone and extra batteries charged, have a car charger or adapter on hand, and load family and emergency numbers into your wireless phone, but be aware that an interruption of wireline services and commercial power could affect wireless calls.
- Prepare for flooding. Keep phones and necessary accessories in a sealed plastic bag to avoid water damage.
- Use mobile applications and social media. Hundreds of emergency, news, weather, and social media applications from the Android Market™, BlackBerry App World™ or GetJar.com can be loaded to mobile phones and tablets to stay up to date on Hurricane Irene’s path and impact.
AT&T offered these “Hurricane Season Tips”
Have a family communications plan in place. Designate someone out of the area as a central contact, and make certain that all family members know whom to contact if they become separated. Most important, practice your emergency plan in advance.
Be sure you have a “Hurricane Phone.” It’s a good idea to have a wireless phone on hand that is not dependent on electricity in case of a power outage. Cordless landline telephones usually have receivers that are electrically charged, so they won’t work if you lose your power.
Program all of your emergency contact numbers and e-mail addresses into your mobile phone. Numbers should include the police department, fire station and hospital, as well as your family members.
Keep your wireless phone batteries charged at all times. Have an alternative plan to recharge your battery in case of a power outage, such as charging your wireless device by using your car charger or having extra cell phone batteries or disposable mobile phone batteries on hand.
Keep your wireless phone dry. The biggest threat to your device during a hurricane is water, so keep your equipment safe from the elements by storing it in a baggie or some other type of protective covering.
Forward your home number to your wireless number in the event of an evacuation. Because call forwarding is based out of the telephone central office, you will get incoming calls from your landline phone even if your local telephone service is disrupted at your home. In the unlikely event that the central office is not operational, services such as voice mail, call forwarding, remote access call forwarding and call forwarding busy line/don’t answer may be useful.
Track the storm and access weather information on your wireless device. Many homes lose power during severe weather. If you have a wireless device that provides access to the Internet, you can watch weather reports through MobiTV® or AT&T Mobile TV or keep updated with local radar and severe weather alerts through My-Cast® Weather, if you subscribe to those services.
Camera phones provide assistance. If you have a camera phone, take, store and send photos — even video clips — of damaged property to your insurance company from your device.
Take advantage of location-based mapping technology. Services such as AT&T Navigator and AT&T FamilyMap can help you seek evacuation routes or avoid traffic congestion from downed trees or power lines, as well as track a family member’s wireless device in case you get separated.
In addition AT&T suggests the following for after and during the storm
Try text messaging. During an emergency situation, text messages may go through more quickly than voice calls because they require fewer network resources. All of AT&T’s wireless devices are text messaging capable. Depending on your text or data plan, additional charges may apply.
Keep non-emergency calls to a minimum, and limit your calls to the most important ones. If there is severe weather, chances are many people will be attempting to place calls to loved ones, friends and business associates.
The echoed message with all four carriers is to text whenever you can and to keep voice calls short to eliminate any undo stress on their networks which may be functioning off portable equipment.