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Daily Q&A: How can someone ensure phone service if a hurricane hits?

What tips can you offer to help ensure that I have some telephone options if a hurricane were to hit?

Kelly Starling, a spokeswoman for AT&T, said consumers should prepare early for communications just as with any other part of the storm preparation.

• Designate someone out of the area as a central contact, and make certain that all family members know whom to contact if they become separated. Most importantly, practice your emergency plan in advance.

• Be sure you have a "hurricane phone." It's a good idea to have a wireless phone on hand and at least one corded (landline) telephone that is not dependent on electricity in case of a power outage. Cordless telephones usually have receivers that are electrically charged, so they won't work if you lose your power.

• Keep your wireless phone batteries charged at all times. Have an alternative plan to recharge your battery in case of a power outage, such as charging your wireless device by using your car charger or having extra mobile phone batteries or disposable mobile phone batteries on hand.

• Keep your wireless phone dry. The biggest threat to your device during a hurricane is water, so keep your equipment safe from the elements by storing it in a plastic bag or some other type of protective covering.

• Forward your home number to your wireless number in the event of an evacuation. Because call forwarding is based out of the telephone central office, you will get incoming calls from your landline phone even if your local telephone service is disrupted at your home. In the unlikely event that the central office is not operational, services such as voice mail, call forwarding, remote access call forwarding and call forwarding busy line/don't answer may be useful.

Question for the Consumer's Edge? Send it to ipenn@sptimes.com or twitter.com/consumers_edge. Questions are answered only in this daily feature.

Daily Q&A: How can someone ensure phone service if a hurricane hits? 06/02/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 3:53pm]
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