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Hawaiian earthquake emphasizes value of text messages in emergencies


October 16, 2006

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October 17, 2006 RU OK? In the crush to communicate with family and friends after the weekend's 6.7 earthquake on the Richter Scale in Hawaii, sending text messages proved to be a quick, efficient way to communicate, according to Verizon Wireless. In the aftermath of earthquakes, hurricanes and floods, voice call traffic rises exponentially. In fact, call volume on the Verizon Wireless network in Hawaii increased 250% over a normal Sunday during the height of the emergency. Text message volume also soared and given the low stress nature of text messaging on the network, Verizon has offered some emergency wireless communications tips which are worth a read. 1 - Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers in your phone. 2 - Have additional charged batteries and car-charger adapters available for back-up power 3 - Forward your home phone calls to your wireless number if you have to evacuate 4 - Limit non-emergency calls to conserve battery power and free-up wireless networks for emergency agencies and operations 5 - Send brief text messages rather than making voice calls for the same reasons. They’re all logical, so it might be worth passing them on.

"Verizon Wireless customers have many options to communicate vital safety information and our early numbers indicate many residents and visitors turned to text messaging following the quake and its aftershocks," said Hal Navarre, head of Verizon Wireless Hawaii network operations. "We encourage the general public to use text messaging during an earthquake or other disaster because it can be a faster and more efficient use of the network, and also saves battery power on your phone, which is especially important when commercial power is out."

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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