Local News

Phone Preparations Ring True After the Storm

Posted September 14, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— The need to communicate by phone can be critical during a hurricane. You may need to call family members or get emergency help. People affected by the storm will want to let friends and relatives know how they are doing.

The phone system is generally very reliable, even under extreme circumstances; cell phones will likely be in heavy use.

There are some things you should know and prepare for, to be sure you can use your phone after the storm has passed.

BellSouth covers most of the storm path and says it is ready for what Floyd may bring.

"We've got the network up and running. We've got power backup, generators down on the coast, as well as here, to handle the volumes that are going to happen," says Laine Seely of BellSouth.

Cell phones will be in heavy use. However, you must be sure they are ready for use.

Seely suggests you have a backup battery and keep the phone charged.

Cordless phone bases are powered at wall outlets and will most likely fail when the power goes out.

"As soon as you lose your power, that phone is not going to work and in an emergency like this, [you are] probably frightened thinking it should work, and it doesn't. You need to have a regular desk phone," he says.

After the storm, it may be easier to make long-distance calls than local calls. Use that option to let people know where, and how, you are.

"Rely on a relative who is safe, out-of-state. Tell them exactly where you're going to be," says Seely.

Seely suggests giving that person's name, address and phone number to a neighbor as well. If anything happens to you or you have to leave in an emergency, they will get your message across.

Remember, lots of people will be trying to call, so be patient; you may have to keep trying.