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Helpful Communication Tips in Case of an Emergency in Washington or Elsewhere

Knowing who to call in case of an emergency – Tips for communication in case of emergency in Washington

Today, we’d like to share one of our favorite authors’ tips for quick communication in an emergency.  Whether you are struck by a natural catastrophe such as an earthquake in Washington State, storm or fire, or you are affected by a terrible attack such as the recent bombing in Boston, it is crucial to get in touch with loved ones.  Whether it is to make sure they are OK, or to let them know that you are OK, sometimes that one message can be the hard to get to go through.

Steve Anderson gathered a few very helpful tips for quick and easy communication in an emergency, when networks are overloaded, cell towers overwhelmed, and landlines jammed.  (Be sure to visit his website and sign up for his weekly newsletter, Steve Anderson Tech Tips.)

Finding People in An Emergency

Guest Post by Industry Expert, Steve Anderson

As a part of the insurance industry, there is one thing we know for sure – there will be another disaster – it could be another hurricane, a tornado, a bad winter storm, or a bomb explosion. As I write this the news coming out of Boston is horrific and sad.

Whether these disasters strike without warning or you have several days to plan – finding out if friends, family, and co-workers are OK is a top priority.

Unfortunately, getting in touch isn’t always easy: Cell towers can be overwhelmed with the sudden increase in traffic and land lines can be jammed with the massive amount of calls flowing in and out of an affected area. In a natural disaster the cell towers could be damaged and out of commission.

Following are some tips for getting in touch. This is by no means a complete list. If you have additional tips, please share them in the comments.

  • Don’t make a phone call. Leave the lines open for emergency personnel.
  • Use Text. Text messages use less bandwidth and the smaller data packets can often get through much faster than voice. There are lots of stories of text working after Sandy when phone calls didn’t. Make sure you have the mobile phone numbers of friends, family, and staff in an easily accessible contact list.
  • Use Smartphone Apps. Cellular networks and phone lines are generally limited to only one communication method whereas apps like GroupMe, Twitter, or Facebook allow you to leave messages in several different ways.

If you’re the person someone is trying to reach then:

  • Find a hardwired data connection if at all possible. If you’re in an affected area, a cable Internet connection might be your best bet; because of the generally faster connection speeds they are able to handle larger surges of traffic, and have a decent track record of withstanding worst-case scenarios.
  • Tell us you are OK! Use email and/or all of your social platforms. Update your Facebook status, tweet your condition and whereabouts. Whether you’re totally fine or in desperate need of help, let your on-line world know and let the Internet work for you. You’d be surprised how many people are worried.
  • Update your voicemail message. If you can make only one call, make it to your voicemail. Change your outgoing message so when others try to call you and it goes straight to voicemail, they can get an update on your current status.

Additional tips

Make sure you have access to power. Any mobile device will be useless without power to recharge. Here are some tips on extending the battery life of your devices:

  • Use a battery case for your smartphone.
  • Turn off unnecessary connections. If you can’t make phone calls then put your phone on airplane mode to turn off cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connections. This will help conserve extra battery power.
  • Also, be sure to keep your emergency contact list up to date.

If something does happen and a loved one is injured or killed, authorities, your employer, or organization officials should be able to get in touch with a trusted friend or family member of yours.

I have recommended for some time that you store an emergency contact in your phone and label it as ICE, which stands for In Case of Emergency, so authorities can quickly know who to reach out to if you’re unable to use your phone.

For more helpful industry-related tips and information, be sure to visit!


Clients of McClain Insurance Services also benefit from our value-added Emergency Contact service.  For more information and to sign up, call one of our helpful agents today at 425-379-9200.

About McClain Insurance Services:

McClain Insurance Services is an independent insurance agency located in Everett, WA. The agency has represented a number of regional and national insurance companies (including PEMCO, Safeco, Travelers and Progressive) since 1977.  McClain Insurance Services offers great insurance options to customers in Snohomish County and Washington.  Between our convenient full-service website and our team of licensed, professional brokers make insurance shopping personal, easy, quick and hassle-free.

Independent agents work with you to customize an insurance plan that meets your needs and fits your budget. They can help with all your personal insurance needs: AutoHomeRenters, Life, Umbrella, Earthquake, Flood, Boat, Motorcycle and RV Insurance.

McClain Insurance Services is a Trusted Choice agency and a member of the Independent Agents Association of America, the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County, and the BBB. They are also Charter Members of NSACE – National Society of Agents for Consumer Education.

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