During tornadoes and other bad weather you will be glad you know about tips that can get you around a fast busy signal on your phone.
Nancy Fratzke, a U.S. Cellular spokeswoman for Oklahoma offers the following cell phone storm tips to ensure you can call for help or assure friends and family you’re safe:
Text your way out: If your landline phone service is disrupted or jammed by high-volume traffic, send cell phone texts. Text messages use short periods of available space on wireless networks and go through even when regular phone service is out. If you have family members unfamiliar with texting, show them how to send such messages and have them practice.
Call long-distance: After a disaster, local phone lines are often jammed because of high call volume or damaged infrastructure. Calling outside the area to long-distance numbers increases your odds of making contact. It is a good way to let family members know you’re safe.
Ask an out-of-state family member or friend to be your family’s “emergency contact” to call during emergencies. Program that number into everyone’s
phones and have them practice making the call.
Try e-mail: today’s generation of smart phones can instantly connect users to the Internet and mobile e-mail.
Global Positioning Satellite System, or GPS — When storm damage forces you to detour from familiar routes, this same technology as used by the military — helps you reach your destinationWhether you are separated from your party or forced during a disaster to go to an unfamiliar area, GPS applications tell you where you are.
Stay up to date on the weather by using your mobile phone services. You can download The Weather Channel to your phone for access to forecasts, weather news, radar imagery and satellite maps for more than 44,000 locations around the country.
Create directory: Keep all the numbers for your local emergency contacts and immediate family stored in your cell phone for quick access in emergencies. Sometimes tornadoes make us forgetful.
Get charged up: Wireless users should charge their phones every night so they have all the battery life possible when they are carried. A car charger is a good way to keep phones charged even when local electricity is out.
U.S. Cellular’s Battery Swap program lets customers visit any store to exchange dead or dying batteries for fully charged batteries.
Read the rest of the Tulsa World article for more tips on this subject.