FCC issues tips for disaster communications

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The Federal Communications Commission, in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, published Oct. 26 nine tips for communicating during a disaster. The recommendations came in advance of Hurricane Sandy, a storm that battered much of the Mid-Atlantic and the North Eastern United States Oct. 28 and 29.

Several of the agency's recommendations for disaster communications were focused on keeping networks as clear as possible.

The FCC advises people to limit their non-emergency calls and keep calls brief in order to free up space on the network for emergency communications. It also encourages people to use text messaging for non-emergency communications, in order to limit network congestion.

According to the FCC, excessive redialing can clog the network. It advises people to wait at least 10 second before redialing a call. If mobile phone users press "send" too quickly in order to redial "the data from the handset to the cell sites do not have enough time to clear before you've resent the same data," says the FCC.

The tip sheet also has several recommendations geared toward citizen safety.

It reminds people to try charging their phone from a car charger in the event they lack electricity at home. However, when placing calls from a vehicle it's best to do so when the car is parked. The FCC also reminds people to only venture out to their cars if it's safe to be outside and to "remain vigilant about carbon monoxide emissions."

For more:
- read the "FCC/FEMA Tips for Communicating During an Emergency"
- read the FCC press release

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