Tips to stay connected during a disaster

Tips to stay connected during a disaster

RESIDENTS are urged to develop a ‘keep connected’ plan in case of a major fire or a storm over the summer period.

Telstra regional general manager Boyd Brown said telecommunications could be crucial before, during and after a natural disaster.

“Whether it’s the ability to call for help, let loved ones know you’re ok or get your business back up and running, we know how important connectivity is when disaster hits,” he said.

“Even if you don’t live in an area that’s at risk, you might be holidaying or driving through a disaster-prone area, so please remain vigilant and plan ahead so that you are prepared as you can be should disaster strike.”

Mr Brown said Telstra uses a range of technologies to support emergency services and impacted communities during times of natural disasters.

“Our preparation for the summer storm and bushfire season begins months in advance, including network testing and developing plans to protect our critical infrastructure in at-risk areas,” Mr Brown said.

“If disaster strikes, we will be there to work with emergency and essential service organisations to restore any impacted services as quickly as possible.

“This includes having a range of portable base stations on standby, ready to deploy to provide temporary telecommunications if needed after an emergency situation.

“It also includes using drones to provide rapid assessments of any damage to our infrastructure.”

Telstra tips to stay connected during a disaster:

Mobile phones

Alternative phone charger – purchase a phone charger that isn’t dependent on a power outlet. Solar power chargers, in-car chargers and power bank chargers are all reliable options. Charge the power bank.

Back up data – back up important data, like contact information and photos, to the cloud.

Know phone numbers – compile a list of essential contact numbers and keep them close at hand, including local Police, fire, SES, family, friends and Telstra’s fixed line fault line – 13 22 03.

Satellite phones – are usually immune to damaged infrastructure and can operate in remote locations. If communications are critical consider a satellite phone.

Fixed line phones

For NBN customers – if the home phone works through the modem and there’s a power outage, the phone line will also be down. Have a mobile phone handy, or a satellite phone in remote areas.

Keep a spare plug-in phone handy. Modern cordless phones rely on electric power to operate, so the landline might be lost during a power outage. A plug-in phone connects to the telephone exchange.

Social Media

Virtual meeting place – set up an instant messaging group with family and friends. Agree in advance to update each other here during an emergency.

Emergency apps – download emergency service apps. They will give up to date warnings and incident information issued by official agencies across Australia.

Local information sources – identify key local agency social media accounts and websites for real time information on what is happening in the area.

Be alert – subscribe to text and emails that will alert you to weather changes, road closures and local emergency services updates.

Know the emergency broadcaster – have a battery powered radio with spare batteries to listen to broadcasts.