Friday, August 29, 2008

Gustav Preparations; Communication Tips

As I receive email from the Governor's Office, MEMA and other emergency-related entities, I'll post it on this blog.

This came in from Cellular South. While I'm not a customer, this information might be relevant to some people.

JACKSON, Miss., (August 28, 2008) – With Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coast residents preparing for a possible onslaught by Hurricane Gustav next week, Cellular South is offering its wireless customers some important disaster planning and communications reminders to use before, during and after any storm.

Before the Storm
• Charge your primary wireless phone battery and secure back-up batteries and a vehicle charger in a dry, accessible location.
• Program emergency numbers and contact information for neighbors, family and friends into your mobile phone address book.
• Give your emergency contact information to those who may need it, including neighbors, family and friends.
• Track weather and storm-related information through the mobile web on your wireless phone.
• During an evacuation, use Google SMS and the mobile web to get news, maps and to find hotels.
• To find the best gas prices, use the Gas Buddy mobile web link.

During and After the Storm
• Place voice calls only when necessary. Limit your personal calls so that capacity is available for 9-1-1 calls and emergency responders.
• When possible, send text messages instead of placing voice calls. Text messages require less network capacity and are more likely than voice calls to reach their destination during periods of network congestion.
• Call #STORM or 1-888-CSOUTH5 for updates on the status of the Cellular South network, retail store operations and other information.
• Go to on your personal computer or via the mobile web on your wireless device at the Cellular South main page under an icon called “Hurricane Gustav” for complete updates, information and details on weather, traffic, power outages, gasoline prices, service restoration and hotel information.
• Charge your mobile phone in your car during commercial power outages. If a car charger is unavailable, buy an AC adapter for your vehicle and you can use your wall charger
• Turn off your Bluetooth, data connections, such as auto sync for PDA and smartphone users, turn backlight down to the minimum levels to conserve battery life. When the batter is extremely low, turn phone off unless in use.
Camera phone owners can use their handsets to document damage to personal property, homes or businesses and use Use Pic Sender to send them to insurance agencies or other contacts.

To help customers prepare for the Hurricane and its aftermath, the company is launching a website with links and information on hurricane resources, weather, traffic, gasoline prices, evacuation routes, emergency response details and hotel information. The site can be accessed through the Internet at or via the mobile web at the Cellular South main page under an icon called “Hurricane Gustav.”

Cellular South also is activating its #STORM hotline or 1-888-CSOUTH5 for customer updates on storm-related wireless service and network capabilities, store hours and openings for retail locations in affected areas and for other disaster relief information.

1 comment:

WDavidStephenson said...

Toby: these are all excellent tips. Your constituents might also look at the tips I prepared for the Wireless Foundation on smart use of wireless devices in emergencies, which also include using social networking appliations (such as Twitter) to send short text messages, or posting your photos to the web (on sites such as Flickr). These methods will mean that you can not only communicate with your family, but may also be able to provide invaluable "situational awareness" to authorities that may help them better respond to fast-changing circumstances!
Good luck!
W. David Stephenson
Stephenson Strategies