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C SPIRE WIRELESS OFFERS CONSUMERS AND BUSINESSES EMERGENCYCOMMUNICATIONS PLANNING TIPS FOR 2011 HURRICANE SEASON

Ridgeland, Miss., (May 25, 2011) – With the 2011 hurricane season about to get underway, C Spire Wireless, the largest privately owned wireless communications provider in the U.S., is offering consumers and businesses in storm-prone areas some important planning and emergency communications reminders to use before, during and after any storm or natural disaster.

 

 

“We were fortunate last year as major hurricanes missed the U.S. mainland,” said Trey Howard, director of Network Operations for C Spire.  “With nearly 37 million people living in hurricane-prone coastal areas, though, we can’t afford to let our guard down.  Now is the time for individuals, families and businesses to prepare emergency plans, create emergency supply kits and learn evacuation routes.”

 

 

In conjunction with National Hurricane Preparedness Week (May 22 – May 28), C Spire is offering consumers and businesses the following tips and advice to use during the storm season:

 

 

Consumer  Tips - Before the Storm

  • Charge your primary wireless phone battery and secure back-up batteries and a vehicle charger in a dry, accessible location.  Use waterproof accessories or simple zip-lock storage bags to protect devices.
  • Take photographs and videos of all your important possessions with the camera and video recorder on your wireless device.  If a hurricane damages your home or property, these items will help you file your wind insurance claim.
  • Consider storing important documents and personal items in a storage facility away from the threat of any major storm, wind or water damage. Take photographs for your records and store on your wireless phone.
  • Plan and practice a hurricane evacuation route with your family. 
  • Designate an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as your family contact person and make sure everyone in your family knows the contact person’s name, address and phone number.  Text or e-mail the contact information with your mobile phone.
  • Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers for police, fire, rescue agencies, power companies, insurance providers and family, friends and co-workers and program them into your mobile phone address book.
  • Give your emergency contact information to those who may need it, including neighbors, family and friends.
  • Track wind and storm surge information through the mobile web on your wireless phone.
  • Prepare an emergency supply kit with items, including a flashlight and battery-powered radio with extra batteries, canned and non-perishable food, bottled water, toiletry items, pet food and supplies, medicine and prescription medication and copies of important family papers and documents.
  • Download from a wide variety of free weather and safety-related applications for smartphones, tablets and other devices. 

 

Consumer Tips - During and After the Storm

  • Tune a battery-operated weather radio to the latest storm information.
  • Limit travel in hurricane-prone areas, which should be closed, and use extreme caution. Do not drive through flooded roadways or attempt to cross flowing streams.
  • Place voice calls only when necessary.  Limit your personal calls so that capacity is available for 9-1-1 calls and other 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.
  • Charge your mobile phone in your car during commercial power outages.  If a car charger is unavailable, buy an AC adapter for your vehicle so 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 battery is extremely low, turn phone off unless in use.
  • Use the camera on your wireless device to document damage to your personal property, home or business and use picture and video messaging to send them to insurance agents or other contacts.

 

Small Business Tips – Before, During and After the Storm

  • Set up call forwarding to an alternate location as a hotline for employees, their families, customers, vendors and suppliers to call for updates on your business status and emergency planning.
  • Maintain an updated employee contact list, including home and cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
  • Protect mission-critical data, hardware and records by periodically backing up files to an off-site location.   Use a generator as backup power for computer hardware and other essential equipment. To aid a prompt business recovery, have a plan ready to implement for replacement of damaged hardware.
  • Train employees on evacuation and shelter plans.  Establish a backup location for your business and an employee assembly point.
  • Use a crisis-management team to coordinate efforts with nearby businesses and building management.  Develop and implement a plan for supply chain continuity for essential elements of your business.

 

“The bottom line is preparation,” Howard added. “While weather forecasters continue to improve the accuracy of their hurricane forecasts, individuals, businesses and communities need to work together to develop and implement comprehensive plans to effectively prepare for, respond to and recover from severe weather events like hurricanes.”  

 

For more information about emergency planning and communcation tips, visit the National Hurricane Center (NHC) at www.hurricanes.gov/prepare or www.Ready.gov. For a free hurricane preparedness guide, visit the NHC at www.weather.gov/os/hurricane/resources/TropicalCyclones11.pdf or the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency at www.msema.org/preparation/documents/HurricanePreparednessGuide.pdf

 

About C Spire Wireless

C Spire Wireless is a diversified mobile communications company passionately committed to helping customers get the most out of their wireless devices and services.  The nation’s largest privately owned wireless communications provider accomplishes this goal by optimizing customers’ app experience through Discover Apps, providing the most reliable and advanced high-speed nationwide wireless voice and data network, offering industry-leading family and unlimited flat rate voice, text and mobile web plans, and through its online and in-store Discover Centers, which give customers easy, simple and convenient tools, tips, advice and information on how to get the most out of their mobile phone.  For more information about C Spire and its products and services, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.