NorCal Public Media, the Federal Communications Commission and the California Broadcasters Association provide the following cell phone tips to keep in mind during a power and communication outage.
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Limit Non-Emergency Phone Calls
This will minimize network congestion and free up "space" for emergency communications. If you do need to make a call, try to keep it brief and only convey vital information to emergency personnel and/or family. Limiting calls also conserves cell phone battery power.
Try Texting in Non-Emergency Situations
For non-emergencies, try text messaging from your wireless phone. Text messages to other wireless devices may go through when your call may not, though there may be a delivery delay during times of network congestion. (You can also text to 911 in certain locations, so check ahead on availability.)
Adjust Your Wireless Phone to Conserve Battery Power
Check your wireless device or manual for ways to conserve battery power, such as dimming the brightness of your display screen and disabling certain applications. If you have difficulty accessing your wireless network, consider connecting to WiFi service if your phone is WiFi-capable. If the wireless network in your area is damaged and you do not see any signal bars on your phone, consider turning your phone off to prevent the battery from draining as your phone seeks a usable wireless signal.
Call 911 Only for Emergencies
Learn and use the designated number in your state for highway accidents or other non-life-threatening incidents.
Wait 10 Seconds Before Redialing Calls that Don't Connect
Redialing a wireless call multiple times in quick succession can increase network congestion, further limiting the ability of all users to place calls. If you must make a call, space out your call attempts.
If Evacuated, Forward Your Home Number to Your Wireless Phone
If you have call forwarding on a landline phone at home, consider forwarding those calls to your wireless number in the event of an evacuation. This will help you continue to receive incoming calls to your home telephone number.
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