Hurricane Season’s Coming: Are You Prepared? Communications Planning is Part of Disaster Preparedness

As we focus on the ongoing recovery from last year’s devastating hurricane season, particularly in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, we must also prepare for this year’s Atlantic hurricane season, which begins on June 1.

If you live in an area at risk for hurricanes, there are steps you can take now to help maintain communications if disaster strikes. For example, most consumers rely on wireless phones at home, so now is the time to assess whether you need an extra battery or car charger for your wireless phone, a portable radio or television, or other equipment to stay connected and informed when the power is out. Don’t wait until a storm is fast approaching!

And if you have landline telephone service, make sure you understand what equipment you may need for it to work during an electric power outage. Telephone service offered over broadband connections, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), will not operate during power outages without a battery or other backup power source. If you don’t have backup power equipment, ask your service provider where you can purchase it. Traditional telephone service, on the other hand, is typically powered over copper telephone lines and may work during electric power outages—but you’ll likely need a “corded” phone (not a cordless phone that relies on electricity) to use it. Not sure what type of telephone service you have at home? Ask your provider.

The FCC is preparing for the upcoming hurricane season as well. We are meeting with communications providers from all sectors to learn about their preparations and how we may be of assistance, and we are conducting exercises with our government partners. Last month, we held a productive workshop with government and consumer stakeholders to discuss their communications-service-related information needs during disasters, and we expect that feedback, along with other input we received in response to last year’s hurricane season, to enhance future efforts.

Read more here.

From the Federal Communications Commission

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The Board of Directors – The Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance