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Communication Tips During (And After) A Natural Disaster

When we or our loved ones are faced with a natural disaster, communication plays a central role. Of course, we want our loved ones to know we’re OK after a devastating hurricane. On the flip side, waiting to hear from loved ones after a catastrophic event is one of the scariest things one can face.

Here are a few recommendations to regarding communication during (and after) a natural disaster.

Keep Your Landline

Many of us don’t even think about the impact a landline can have on the quality of life during a hurricane aftermath. Not being able to communicate with our loved ones after a hurricane is scary, but it’s even worse is not being able to get through emergency responders in case of an emergency. You’ll also need access to a phone to communicate with your insurance provider in case of damage to file a flood insurance claim.

Cell phone towers are commonly affected during a natural disaster. A landline could be your saving grace.

Why do landlines have a bigger probability of working after a hurricane than mobile or Internet phones? An old-school copper wire landline connection is the most reliable during a hurricane because it doesn’t need electricity to keep functioning. It also isn’t dependent on a wireless provider’s cell phone tower holding up. Copper runs underground, connecting directly to the telephone provider central and rely on physical wire connections to make and receive calls.

But beware! Many home phone services installed today are not landlines. They run on a newer technology called VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). These depend on the Internet to function. No Internet, no phone.

How can you know if your home phone is a landline or VoIP? Check out how it’s connected: If it runs from your Internet router or computer, its VoIP. If it’s connected to your phone jack on the wall, it’s a landline.

Turn To Social Media

In recent years, social media have been the main news source for many after natural disasters and other catastrophic events.

Social media groups pop up immediately after an event, full of people attempting to connect with loved ones in areas affected. Updates on the state of cities and areas are common, as well as people knowing of their family’s whereabouts thanks to well-meaning neighbors or friends.

If you’re involved in any natural disaster – be it you’re in the affected area or from afar – and have access to social media, consider dedicating some time to sharing true, insider news on your social media channels and dedicated groups. There are many people hungry for information and what you share can provide a lot of needed peace of mind.

Facebook and Twitter are the best platforms for this kind of information because of the ease of sharing and the wide demographic that uses them. Only share information from first-hand accounts or from credible news sources. Unfortunately, there are many lies that spread like wildfire on social media and you don’t want to contribute to that.

Facebook also has a crisis response functionality that lets people affected by crises tell friends they’re safe, find or offer help and get the latest news and information.

Safety is the number one priority during a natural disaster. Shortly afterward, communication plays a central role in getting back to normalcy. Make sure you’re always prepared.

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