Plan for how you will communicate with loved ones after a disaster.
- Long-distance phone lines often work before local phone lines, so identify an out-of-state contact and provide this person with the contact information of people you want to keep informed of your situation. Share this information with your family and friends locally.
- Avoid making non-urgent phone calls after a disaster – even if phone lines are un-damaged, increased phone traffic can jam phone circuits.
- Cordless phones or phone systems require electricity; make sure you have a backup phone that requires no electricity.
- Keep coins in your Go-bag. Payphones may work before other phone lines.
- Don’t count on your cell phone - increased traffic on cell phone networks can quickly overload wireless capacity.
- Record an outgoing message on your voicemail so that callers can be re-assured of your safety status.
- Learn how to use text messaging. It uses a different part of the cell phone network and it might be possible to send and receive text messages when voice channels for mobile phones and land lines are jammed.
- Register your email addresses and wireless devices (mobile phones, pagers and PDAs) at AlertSF.org. When possible, the City will send text alerts about potential hazards and/or post disaster information. Examples include tsunami warnings and local disaster shelter locations.
- After an earthquake, check all your telephones to be sure they have not shaken off the hook and are tying up a line.