This Friday will be the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, a storm that devastated and transformed South Florida. When it occurred, it was the costliest hurricane in U.S. history. (It now ranks behind Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2008.)It’s easy to forget that in 1992, only a small percentage of Americans had access to a new technology called a wireless phone. The devices were cumbersome, the smartphone hadn’t been invented and no one had heard of an “app.” But today, most people have access to their own sophisticated mobile communications and safety devices. Your wireless smartphone can be a great tool to help you and your family stay connected while receiving important information in emergency weather situations.So when a storm threatens in 2012, smartphones, tablets and other devices can connect customers to a vast variety of free weather, news and safety-related services. With 4G LTE technology, wireless users can be sure to access the information as quickly as possible. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when developing your family’s action plan to deal with emergency situations. • Keep phones, batteries, chargers and other equipment in a dry, accessible location. • Keep devices charged and have additional charged batteries and car charger adapters available for back-up power.• Maintain a list of emergency numbers – police and fire agencies; power and insurance companies; family, friends and co-workers, etc. – and program them into your phone before an emergency arises.• Distribute wireless phone numbers to family members and friends.• Limit non-emergency calls to conserve battery power and free up wireless networks for emergency agencies and operations.• Send brief text messages rather than voice calls.• Forward your home phone calls to your wireless number if you evacuate.• Check weather and news reports on wireless phone apps when power is out.
Verizon Wireless prepares year-round so customers can rely on the network to keep them and their families, friends and co-workers connected – even when the unexpected strikes. For more information on efforts to assist in weather emergencies, visit the Verizon Wireless Emergency Information Center.