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|AT&T: Tips for Developing an Emergency Communications Plan
Whether family members are at work or school, in the same home or geographically separated, AT&T reminds consumers to be AWARE — Always Watchful, Alert and Ready in an Emergency — with tips for developing an emergency communications plan, such as:
— Create a Plan. Develop an emergency communications plan, including communications methods and individuals to call. Post it on the refrigerator, keep a copy with emergency supplies and provide copies to each family member.
— Prepare for the Worst-Case Scenario. During natural disasters, such as hurricanes or flooding, wireline services can be interrupted for extended periods of time because of damage caused by high winds or flooding. Wireless phones may serve as alternative means of communication.
— Conduct an Inventory. Review existing communications devices and determine whether family members would benefit by adding any services or phones that enable everyone to stay connected.
— Have a Backup Phone. Be sure that you have at least one corded telephone that is not dependent on electricity in case of an electrical power outage. Cordless telephones usually have receivers that are electrically charged, and thus will not work if there is a power outage. Consider keeping a basic hard-wired phone and a wireless phone on hand for emergencies to enable communication with safety officials and loved ones, even when the power is out.
— Compile Vital Information and Equip Family Members. Create a communications safety tool box, which includes a prioritized list (both electronic and hard copy) of phone numbers and e-mail addresses for family members, copies of business cards and personal documents such as passports and copies of birth certificates. Also, make sure that you have easy access to emergency phone numbers such as local hospitals, your personal doctor and your home insurance agent, by programming numbers into your wireless phone.
— Create IDs. Create photo IDs for every family member using the template available on www.att.com/vitalconnections.
— Know Where to Meet. Agree on a physical and virtual meeting place such as a voice mailbox or online chat site.
— Practical Wireless Phone Tips:
[August 25, 2006]
Familiarize yourself with the text-messaging capabilities of your phone. Text messages will often go through quicker than voice calls during an emergency situation.
Program all of your emergency contact numbers into your wireless phone, including the police department, fire station and hospital, as well as your family members.
Keep your wireless phone batteries charged at all times. Have an alternate plan to recharge your battery in case of power outages (e.g., charging via your car charger, extra wireless phone batteries, use of a disposable wireless phone battery).
Keep your wireless phone dry. The biggest threat to your device during a hurricane is water, so keep your equipment safe from the elements.
Forward your home number to your wireless number in the event of an evacuation. Since 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 offline, call forwarding may not work.
Keep nonemergency calls to a minimum.
When using a wireless phone, wait 10 seconds before redialing a call. This should alleviate some stress to the network. If calls do not immediately connect or if you hear a fast busy signal, try again in a few minutes.
Use your wireless phone to access weather and news updates.
Use your camera phone to snap, store and send photos of damaged property to your insurance company.
— Be Radio-Ready. Make sure that you have a working, battery-operated radio. The radio can keep you up to date on the latest weather reports, public safety issues and evacuation notices.
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