Be Prepared: Important Steps You Can Take to Stay Connected During a Storm
Extreme weather events such as hurricanes, wildfires, and snow and ice storms are becoming more commonplace, endangering Canadians, damaging property, and posing a risk to critical infrastructure, including telecommunications networks.
Telecom providers know that Canadians depend on them to stay connected, especially during an emergency. That is why they have made it a priority to strengthen their networks and make them more resilient in the face of extreme weather events and natural disasters.
But even with these preparations, extreme weather and other disasters can result in power outages, downed poles and cables, and other damage that can impact your use of internet and mobile phone services.
With Atlantic Canada preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Lee , now is a good time to review some important tips on preparing for potential power outages and other storm damage that can affect your use of telecommunications servicers.
The following tips and best practices can be found in the emergency preparedness document we released this spring, Preparing for Severe Weather Events & Other Emergencies, and are also available at telecomprepare.ca:
Before a storm:
- Monitor the weather and be ready for emergency alerts.
- Prepare for power outages by fully charging your devices.
- Have backup power supply that can power essential communications equipment like your internet modem, Wi-Fi router, and cordless phone.
- Determine if your phone or phone service rely on your home power supply and consider a backup power supply if they do.
During a storm and in the immediate aftermath:
- Preserve device battery power, such as by reducing the screen brightness and turning off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and location-based services when you don’t need them.
- Help reduce network congestion by using SMS/texting or email to connect with others and do not use your mobile phone to make phone calls unless it is an emergency.
- If you must make a phone call, keep your conversation as short as possible, and if your call is not connected wait at least 10 seconds before redialing.
- Do not use mobile wireless networks for data-intensive uses, like streaming video or non-emergency related internet use.
When calling 9-1-1:
- If you have a working landline phone and a mobile phone, use the landline phone to help reduce traffic on mobile networks.
- Mobile phone service is designed for 9-1-1 calls to default to whatever wireless network is available, so calling 9-1-1 on your mobile phone may still be possible even if your service provider does not have an operational cell tower nearby or your phone does not have a SIM card.
- 9-1-1 calls may take longer to connect due to increased network congestion following an emergency. If your call is not immediately connected, wait a few seconds to allow your device to make a connection. If your call is not connected, hang up and wait 10 seconds before redialing. Do not immediately redial.
- If you are still unable to successfully place a 9-1-1 call, try removing or turning off your device’s SIM card. In rare circumstances, the presence of the SIM card may prevent your device from connecting to an alternative service provider’s network.
You can also find more tips on how to prepare for emergencies at the Government of Canada’s www.GetPrepared.ca website, and the websites of your provincial/territorial governments and local municipalities.