The recent earthquake in LA showed that the phone network will probably get overloaded in any localized emergency.

One of the things that you want to do in emergency preparedness is to be able to contact you family. You establish a central meeting place, or a way to communicate with your family. Most people will automatically reach for their cell phones. And they’ll probably get a busy signal, because all the circuits are busy.

Smart people will reach for their cell phone, but will send a text message to their family members or other contacts. Text messages, because they are transmitted differently, will get through when a cell phone call won’t.

So, you may want to ensure all members of your family know to use text messaging during an emergency. We know that your older children probably know how to text message (and you’ve probably got the cell phone bills to prove it).

If you don’t know, ask your children to teach you.


(originally appeared on Digital Choke )

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