Contacting Loved Ones in Times of Tragedy

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Monday’s tragedy got me thinking about different ways to contact our loved ones and friends during times like the one our country just went through in Boston. I especially thought about this when I was watching TV coverage of the event and and the reporters were reporting that the cellular network in the Boston area had been shut down.

Disasters often strike without warning–and if you have loved ones in harm’s way, you’re going to want to get in touch with them. During tragedy’s like the one in Boston cell signals and land lines can be jammed with the massive amount of calls flowing in and out of an area. In addition just like on Monday officials may have the cellular service shut down.
One of the advantageous of social media and smartphones is that there are more ways then ever before to communicate, outside of talking on the phone. Here are a couple of options for trying to reach out to others when disaster strikes.
1.      First -Do not call! Leave the lines open for first responders.
2.      Text.  Using text messages rather than voice calls helps to prevent network congestion. It requires a lot less data from the wireless networks as compared to voice.
3.      Use Apps. While cell networks and phone lines are generally limited to one communication protocol, apps like Twitter and Facebook Messenger can reach out in many different ways.
If you are the one in harm’s way – what should you do?

  • Get to a hardwired data connection.If you’re in an affected area, a cable internet connection might be your best bet. These faster connections are made to handle large amounts of traffic.  There is also a long track record of reliable performance even during the worst of times.
  • Remember to contact someone! Email someone in your family, update your Facebook status or tweet your condition and whereabouts. Whether you’re totally fine or in desperate need of help, let the internet work for you.
  • Here is a great idea. Update your voicemail message. If you can make only one call, make it to your voicemail. Change your outgoing message, so when family, friends and co-workers try to contact you they will hear you’re updated voice mail message.