Reliable communications key in emergency, experts say

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Reliable communications key in emergency, experts say With a powerful storm churning up the Atlantic Ocean, East Coast residents may use some tips from experts on how to stay safe and protect their families.

Hurricane Bill may still be hundreds of miles from the shore, but it is a good idea to either review or create emergency communication plans.

"Thorough preparation is the key to staying safe and in touch during emergencies," says Jerry Fountain, Carolinas/Tennessee region president for Verizon Wireless, adding the company is preparing the network to ensure coverage is not disrupted.

Verizon also offers tips on how families can prepare their wireless phones to be a reliable communication tool in case the hurricane strikes.

It says phone batteries should be charged before warnings are issued, in case local power is lost. It is also good practice have spare batteries and car-charger adapters available.

Phones, batteries and chargers should be kept in a dry, easily accessible location.

Residents should make sure they have a list of emergency phone numbers, including police, fire and rescue agencies, readily available. Up-to-date contact information for insurance providers, family, friends and co-workers should also be programmed into the phone.

It may be a good idea to distribute one’s cell phone number to family and friends, and forward home phone calls to the wireless number if evacuation is possible.

The National Hurricane Center says as of Wednesday, Bill is a category 4 hurricane centered 1,100 miles southeast of Bermuda and heading west-northwest.

It is too early to know the exact path it will follow, but some projections put it dangerously close to Northeast states.

The Atlantic Hurricane season lasts through November 30.
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