How to Stay Safe and Connected When Disaster Strikes: We use our phones to stay productive and have fun most of the time. They allow us to capture images while also saving us from long commutes. Cell phones, on the other hand, are much more than just a source of entertainment. They may be our only link to emergency services and essential information in the event of a crisis. Whether you’re worried about wildfires or hurricane preparedness, your phone should be a component of your disaster plan.
How Are Phones Affected by Disasters?
Your initial instinct may be to reach for your phone when severe weather is approaching, an emergency strikes, or you’re dealing with the aftermath. Keep in mind, though, that heavy winds, rising floods, and earthquakes can all cause service interruptions. Local cell towers, like houses and businesses, maybe damaged during severe weather events. If this is the case, connectivity will be limited until repairs can be done, which can take time when unsafe conditions are present.
Also, keep in mind that the volume of this damaged equipment will be higher than at any other period. A disaster results in an avalanche of phone calls, texts, and page refreshes. You’re also competing for bandwidth with everyone else using social media to seek help or confirm the safety of a loved one. As a result, connections are frequently weak, and you may not be able to connect immediately or at all.
Rather than making phone calls, you should text.
When it’s time to communicate, texting is a better option than calling. While your calls may become snarled in network congestion, text messages are sent quickly. They’re a terrific method to check in on family members and confirm meeting locations without adding to the crowds.
However, there are times when you have no choice but to make a phone call. Make sure you only use your phone for the most necessary calls, such as dialing 911. Hang up and wait at least 10 seconds if you get a busy signal. This allows your call data to clear the network, allowing you to dial again without being banned right away.
Don’t rely on social media for assistance. While we’ve all heard of rescues being announced on Facebook and Twitter, first responders aren’t scanning these channels first and may be unaware of your need for help. Although social media can keep you up to date on family and local news, emergency service providers agree that 9-1-1 and other official channels should always be the default.
What Else Are Your Options?
You can stay connected by taking some basic precautions in addition to being aware of the impact of disasters on your network.
Here are a few examples:
- Always keep your phone charged, and keep chargers and battery packs handy. To keep your smartphone safe, invest in a watertight, shatter-resistant case.
- Turn off background data refresh, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, and dim your screen.
- Make a list of emergency contacts in your phone and identify them accordingly.
- Enable location tracking to assist you in locating family members if you become separated.
- Get free Wireless Emergency Alerts by signing up (WEA).
- Check to see if your phone plan is up to date.
Above all, you should prevent excessive use that may drain your battery. You may want to consider upgrading to a new phone if your phone no longer retains a charge or has connectivity issues.
Be Ready for Anything
Your phone is an important part of your disaster recovery strategy, and JNA Retail is dedicated to providing you with the high-quality service you need to stay connected at all times. Even when network connectivity is limited due to events beyond our control, our goal is to always give you more for less.
View our store page to learn more