Emergency Communication

To ensure that your call gets through to family, friends and loved ones during an emergency, consider the following tips:
  • Limit non-emergency phone calls. This will minimize network congestion, free up space on the network and conserve battery power if you are using a wireless phone.
  • Keep all phone calls brief. If you need to use a phone, try to use it only to convey vital information to emergency personnel and family.
  • Try text messaging when using your cellphone. In many cases text messages will go through when your call may not. It will also help free up more space for emergency communications on the telephone network.
  • Try a variety of communications services. If you are unsuccessful in getting through on your cellphone, try a messaging capability like text messaging or email. Alternatively, try a landline phone if one is available. This will help spread the communications demand over multiple networks and reduce overall congestion.
  • Wait 10 seconds before redialing a call. On many wireless handsets, to re-dial a number, you simply push "send" after you've ended a call to redial the previous number. If you do this too quickly, the data from the handset to the cell sites do not have enough time to clear before you've resent the same data. This contributes to a clogged network.
  • Have charged batteries and car-charger adapters available for backup power for your cellphone.
  • Maintain a list of emergency phone contacts in your phone.
  • If in your vehicle, try to place calls while your vehicle is stationary.
  • Have a family communication. Designate someone out of the area as a central contact, and make certain all family members know who to contact if they become separated. Make sure children know the communication plan.
  • If you have call forwarding on your home number, forward your home number to your cellphone number in the event of an evacuation. That way you will get incoming calls from your landline phone.
  • Be sure that you have at least one corded telephone that is not dependent on electricity. Cordless telephones usually will not work if there is a power outage.
Additional Resources:
NOAA Weather Radio
FCC "Communicating in an Emergency"
do1thing "Family Communcation Plan"
FEMA "Familly Communication Plan for Parents and Kids"