Cell Phones
Before Event During Event After Event Resources

After the Event

  • Call volume increases significantly during and after an emergency. When more people try to call at the same time, increased calling volume may create network congestion. Keep all phone calls brief. If you need to use a phone, try to use it only to convey vital information to emergency personnel or family members.
  • Network congestion can cause “fast busy” signals from wireless phones during times of heavy usage. Or, you may receive a message that says “Your call cannot be completed at this time.” If you hear this message, simply hang up, wait a few seconds and retry.
  • Wait 10 seconds before redialing. This allows your original call data to clear the network before you try again. On many wireless phones, to re-dial a number, you simply push "send" after you've ended a call to redial the previous number. If you do this too quickly, the data from the phone to the cell sites do not have enough time to clear before you've resent the same data. This contributes to a clogged network.
  • As an alternative to a phone call, try text messaging, also known as short messaging service (SMS). Many times, in an emergency situation, text messages will go through quicker than voice calls.
  • If in your vehicle, try to place calls while the vehicle is not moving.
  • After the storm has passed, if you lose power in your home, try using your car to charge cell phones or listen to news alerts on the car radio. Be careful, don't try to reach your car if it is not safe to do so, and remain vigilant about carbon monoxide emissions from your car if it is in an enclosed space, such as a garage.
  • Use the camera feature on your phone to take photos of any damage to your property and send them, along with photos of your property you took before the event, to your insurance company.

Updated October 2013