FCC, FEMA Offer Tips For Communicating During Emergency

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By Paul Barbagallo  

As Hurricane Sandy prepared to make landfall over the weekend, the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a tip sheet to those affected for communicating during the storm, especially over wireless networks.

For wireless calling, the FCC and FEMA advise consumers to limit the duration of all “non-emergency” phone calls to minimize network congestion and also to conserve battery life of devices.

The agencies suggest sending a text message instead, since texts will most likely go through when calls do not.

And though many Americans will be communicating via a wireless phone during the storm, the FCC and FEMA recommend the use of landline phones, when and if available. “This will help spread the communications demand over multiple networks and should reduce overall congestion,” they note.

In an event of a power outage, the agencies point out that a car can be used to charge a mobile device and listen to new alerts on the radio, but only in certain situations. “Don't try to reach your car if it is not safe to do so, and remain vigilant about carbon monoxide emissions from your car if it is a closed space, such as a garage,” they warned.

In addition to releasing the tip sheet, the FCC also reminded broadcasters, cable operators, and wired or wireless service providers who need to contact the FCC about any Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy-related emergency communications issues that the agency's operations center is available.

The phone number is (202) 418-1122 and the email is FCCOPCenter@fcc.gov.For the tip sheet, visit http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/consumer-tips-how-communicate-during-natural-disaster-emergency.

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