WASHINGTON: It is better to send text messages than to make a cellphone call when a natural disaster strikes and networks get congested.
It is also important that people remember to add battery-powered cellphone chargers to their storm emergency kits.
Craig Fugate, head of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency, advised that households without fixed-line phones should be ready to charge cellphones during power cuts.
He also called on families to make alternative communication plans for when wireless networks are congested during and following a disaster.
"When there's a big crisis, don't try to call people on your phones - text message. It's a lot faster and gets through. Use social media to update people ...
"... and also be prepared when power outages occur for how you're going to keep your electronic devices charged," Fugate said.
The US Government is working to extend its public alert warning system beyond radio and television to mobile networks. Most new and upgraded cellphones have the capacity to receive such emergency notices. - Reuters