The wired public telephone network is built for reliability. However, if the lines on your street go down, so does your phone.
- Keep at least one corded, analog phone that works without batteries or wall power (i.e. not an ISDN phone) connected at home.
- Do not make unneeded calls in an emergency. Keep the lines free for those who really need them. If you must call, try to be brief.
- When you do not get a dial tone, punch a number key. If you hear its tone, your phone is not dead. Do not hang up! You are in a queue--wait for the dial tone.
- A fast busy signal indicates your call did not go through, so hang up, pick up, and redial. A slow busy signal indicates that the called party is on the phone. Try later.
- If you cannot reach your party, dial someone far outside the emergency area and ask him/her to dial your party. Because their call may enter the local, congested network through a different line, they may be able to get through. As an alternative, try using a calling card. This may route the call outside the emergency area.
- Use conferencing if you need to hold a meeting but can't meet in person. Your phone company may offer this, or try freeconferencing.com or mrconference.com on the internet.
- Unit Leaders: set up a phone tree in your unit.
Wireless Phone Tips
- May cell phones and their providers allow sending SMS or e-mail. These may get through even if you cannot make a call because of congestion or because you have a poor signal; the lowest "bar" reading on your phone may be enough. Learn how to send and receive these messages.
- A car cell phone charger provides another option to keep your cell phone going.
- Not all cell towers have backup power. If you get no signal, try moving to another one or seek higher ground.
- Nextel's DirectConnect simulated walkie-talkie bypasses the regular telephone network. As long as itself is not congested, you may reach other DirectConnect users across the country.
- Nextel's DirectTalk is an actual walkie talkie built into the cell phone. If may reach other DirectTalk subscribers who are within a few miles.
- Satellite phones are a valuable resource because they do not depend on the local telephone network. They will work from most indoor locations and every outdoor location, no matter how remote. However, they are expensive to own and use and you need someone who knows how to operate them.
- If you must call during a thunderstorm, use a cell phone or cordless phone so lightning has no wire path to you.
Type of Service/What you Need
- Dialup: A Dial tone on your phone
- Cable: An intact cable system, although TV signals do not need to work. Your cable modem needs power
- DSL: An intact phone system. A dial tone is not needed. Your DSL modem needs power.
- Satellite: No local infrastructure needed, buy your satellite equipment needs power.
- You can reach cell phone subscribers by sending SMS messages over the Internet, even if the lines are congested. Various services provide this ability, like Yahoo Instant Messaging.
- You can attach a read receipt to email, informing you that the sender has opened the email, although the sender may opt not to send a receipt
Because it does not depend on wiring, you have options.
- A prior agreement with the designated, local FM broadcast station may let the bishop or branch president pass messages to your ward members. Call your County Emergency Management Agency to find the station. Find this agency in the phone book or at http://www.pema.state.us.gov/ (click on the the county link)
- CB, FRS, GMRS walkie talkies can provide local communications.
- Ham operators, including non-members, are generally eager to assist in an emergency. Other hams, professional emergency responders, members with world band receivers and sometimes CB/FRS/GMRS walkie-talkies may receive their transmissions. Hams with short-wave licenses can use NVIS to cover the entire stake. Not: Hams may use any frequency if needed during an emergency (FCC 97.403).
This is self explanatory. Wherever your car, bicycle, or other transport can take you, you can deliver a message.
- You may also be able to reach someone closer to the target area and have him/her go there.
- Keep a small (legal) amount of reserve car fuel on hand in an approved container, situated in a safe, ventilated area.
Source: Michael Vuister, Scranton Stake Emergency Communications Coordinator
Disclaimer: This is not an official church document. Use at your own risk. All trademarks are recognized. No specific brands are endorsed.