Staying in touch during emergencies
Being able to communicate with family, friends and emergency responders during an emergency is critical. However, keep in mind that everyday communication devices may not work properly during an emergency.
- If possible, use non-voice channels like text messaging, email or social media, as these use less bandwidth than voice communications and may work even when phone service has been disrupted.
- If you must use a phone, keep your conversation brief and convey only vital information. Keeping calls short also saves the battery life of your mobile phone.
- If you are unable to complete a call, wait ten seconds before redialing to help reduce network congestion.
- Keep extra batteries or a charger for your mobile device in your emergency kit. Consider getting a solar-powered, crank, or vehicle phone charger, or if you do not have a cell phone, keep a prepaid phone card in your kit.
- If you have been evacuated and have call-forwarding on your home phone, use it to forward calls to your cell phone.
- If you do not have a hands-free device in your car, stop driving or pull over to the side of the road before texting, making a call or using the device.
- Keep your contacts up to date on your phone, email and other channels.
- Note, cordless phones rely on electricity and will not work during a power outage. If you have a landline, keep at least one corded phone in your home.
Additional tips for smartphones
- Save your safe meeting location(s) on your phone's mapping application.
- Conserve your battery by reducing the screen's brightness and closing apps you are not using.
- To reduce network congestion immediately after an emergency, avoid using your mobile device to stream videos, download entertainment, or play video games.
Sign up for Direct Deposit and electronic banking through your financial institution so you can access your funds and make electronic payments from wherever you are. For more information on how to stay safe online, visit GetCyberSafe.ca.
- Opt-in to a notification system if offered by your local emergency management offices. To find out if your community offers such services, contact your local emergency management organization.
- Include these sites in your emergency plan and bookmark them for quick access:
- Public Safety Canada's website on emergency preparedness, GetPrepared.ca and the mobile version, m.GetPrepared.ca
- Canadian Red Cross: www.redcross.ca
- Environment Canada: www.ec.gc.ca
- St. John Ambulance: www.sja.ca
- The Salvation Army: www.salvationarmy.ca
- The Canadian Hurricane Center: www.ec.gc.ca/ouragans-hurricanes
- Your local emergency management agency
- Sign up to receive regular safety tips from GetPrepared.ca.
- Follow Public Safety Canada and GetPrepared on Twitter:
- Public Safety Canada: @Safety_Canada
- GetPrepared: @Get_Prepared
- Date modified: