Here we go again...
Our Prayers and Best Wishes go out to All in Hurricane Matthew's Path
Ironically, it usually takes going through an earthquake, hurricane or other disaster to understand why having a Satellite Phone is the best communication solution out there. Everyone knows that when tragedy strikes, the first thing to go down is landline services. Because of this, everybody then reaches for their cellphones to make calls. Even if the local infrastructure and cell towers remain in tact, it's the sheer volume of usage that will prevent you from being able to access your wireless carrier's network.
That's why satellite phones are your best solution. There are not enough folks out there that own these devices so network congestion is never an issue. Also, since these devices directly communicate with low orbiting satellites 910 miles above the earth, local infrastructure is not even needed. Even if there is a power failure, it doesn't matter as long as your satellite phone is charged. Dr WIreless has FREE Satellite Phones available for the asking. I personally keep one in my car at all times. I grew up in Florida where Hurricanes were the biggest danger. The central US regularly deals with flooding and Tornadoes. Most Californians live within 30 miles of an active fault. It's not a matter of if, but when, the next quake will strike.
If you do not have a satellite phone, there are still several precautions that you can take. First of all, make sure that you have purchased or prepared a safety kit. There are several things you can do to prepare for the worst. I just got of the phone with my father who lives just about 45 minutes south of Sebastian Inlet. He's been in the dark all evening as his power has been out since last night but he is safe. I obviously could not get through on his landline but after about 4 hours of trying, I did get through on his cellphone. Here are some tips that you should consider...
1) Your Vehicle is a terrific power source. Make sure you have car adapters for your SmartPhone, and computers. Also make sure that you have plenty of gasoline and a fresh car battery. Many people overlook the fact that an automobile is a great powers source when there is no power in their homes. Not only can you power up a dead device, you can also charge them too. Another consideration is using your SmartPhone as a hotspot for your computer. Even if the nearest cell towers in your neighborhood are down, you can always drive a few blocks, or miles and find an operational cell tower.
2) Use Data networks instead of Voice networks. We all know that cell phone service can be spotty due to congestion during these situations. What many people don't realize is that data networks are never as busy as voice networks. That means using Viber, WhatsAPP, or any other voice over IP wifi calling or messaging service is a much better idea than trying to call out on voice networks.
3) Fema's Four Primary Steps - Get a kit, Make a plan, Be informed, Get involved with your community.
4) Be prepared! Whether it's for your home or for your office, you should be prepared and know what supplies to have available, should a disaster occur. Some areas may not be accessible to first responders for days, not just hours. Make sure that our disaster preparedness kit has enough water and supplies for at least 72 hours.
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Joel Saltzman has over twenty years of wireless industry experience. He is currently CEO and Chief Wireless Analyst for Dr Wireless.