MIAMI -- People living in hurricane prone areas should have a backup tech plan in case a storm hits, because Internet and cell phone connections are likely to go out, FEMA director Craig Fugate said Friday during the first day of the official Atlantic hurricane season.
“It will go out, and if it doesn’t go out, everybody will try to call each other and won’t get through,” Fugate said.
He urged families to have clear plans for how and where to meet up in case they can’t use their phones. And he encouraged residents to make sure they have a battery operated radio to hear emergency bulletins from state and federal officials.
Fugate asked residents to text and email rather than call during the height of a storm, to reduce congestion.
Fugate said both wireless and wired technology will likely come back up quickly, but if electricity is spotty, keeping the gadgets charged may be tricky.
“When you evacuate, did you remember to bring that charger, and is there going to be a place to plug that in?” Fugate asked. “What’s your backup plan?”
He suggested people have portable battery-powered or hand-crank chargers. Car chargers can also work.
Fugate spoke the National Hurricane Center in Miami, along with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Florida Gov. Rick Scott. All of them urged individuals to prepare before the storm, noting it only takes one storm to make landfall and wreak havoc.
Even tropical storms, especially if heavy winds are sustained over several hours, can cause serious damage, said National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read.
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