Additionally, AT&T provides the following communication tips for residents and small businesses to use before, during and after any emergency.
Maximizing Service During and After an Emergency:
During an emergency, more people are trying to use their phones at the same time. The increased calling volume may create network congestion, leading to “fast busy” signals on your wireless phone or a slow dial tone on your landline phone. If this happens, hang up, wait several seconds and then try the call again. This allows your original call data to clear the network before you try again.
Try wireless text/short messaging service (SMS). During an emergency situation, text messages will often go through quicker than voice calls because they require less network resources. All of AT&T’s wireless devices are text messaging capable. Also, if you have a wireless data device such as an Apple iPhone or a BlackBerry® Smartphone, you can use its messaging capabilities to communicate. Depending on the call plan, additional charges may apply.
Keep non-emergency calls to a minimum, and limit your calls to the most important ones. Chances are many people will be attempting to place calls to loved ones, friends and business associates.
Tips on Planning and Preparing Before an Emergency:
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.
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 mobile phone batteries or disposable mobile phone batteries on hand.
Small Business Tips:
Set up a call-forwarding service to a predetermined backup location. Set up a single or multiple hotline number(s) for employees, employees’ families, customers and partners, as appropriate, to call so that all parties know about the business situation and emergency plan. For this to be most effective, maintain an updated contact list, including mobile and home phone numbers and e-mail addresses, for all employees.
Protect hardware/software/data records/employee records, etc. Routinely back up these files to an off-site location. Use a generator for supplying backup power to vital computer hardware and other mission-critical equipment. Prearrange the replacement of damaged hardware with vendors to ensure quick business recovery.
Assemble a crisis-management team and coordinate efforts with neighboring businesses and building management. Be aware that emergencies affecting your suppliers also affect your business. Outline a plan for supply chain continuity for business essentials.