- Develop a plan for how you will communicate with loved ones after a disaster.
- Identify an out-of-state contact--long distance phone lines often work before local phone lines are restored, so using an out-of-state contact is a good idea. Provide this person with the contact information of people you want to keep informed of your situation. Have everyone in your family check-in with the out-of-state contact as soon as possible after disaster strikes.
- Avoid making non-urgent phone calls after a disaster - even if phone lines are un-damaged, increased phone traffic can jam phone circuits.
- 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.
- Keep coins handy--payphones are more likely to work before other phone lines.
- Have a backup phone that does not require electricity--cordless phones require electricity, so make sure you have at least one phone that requires no electricity (uses cord connection to operate).
- After an earthquake check all your telephones to be sure they have not shaken off the hook and are tying up a line.
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