National Preparedness Month

BECKLEY — The United States is experiencing historic flooding. According to The National Weather Service flash flooding is the number one weather-related killer in the United States and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts an unprecedented amount of flooding will occur in 2019. U.S. Cellular’s experts recommend using smartphones to prepare for upcoming weather events, stay updated about local conditions and recover from severe storms.

“People rely on U.S. Cellular to stay informed, prepared and connected,” says Nathan Waddell, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in the Mid-South. “Even before a storm, U.S. Cellular’s network engineers check on local towers, run quality tests and monitor the network. Our team is on hand to provide backup power generators to cell sites as needed and anticipate potential threats. That way, we can deploy extra associates and add service capacity to areas where and when it is needed most.”

U.S. Cellular shares the following tips for an emergency:

Stay up-to-date. Keep an eye on local news and weather and sign up for alerts that will provide real-time notifications about potential hazards, evacuation orders, and road and school closings.

Listen to warnings and alerts. According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, the National Weather Service is preparing to roll out a new warning system in September that will change flash flood warnings to specifically mention if the threat is “considerable” or “catastrophic,” to help people recognize the severity and help minimize deaths.

Keep digital records of your important paperwork. In addition to storing important documents and valuables in a safe, waterproof place, store pictures of your family’s birth certificates, drivers’ licenses, marriage licenses, passports, social security cards, health records, insurance information, wills and list of medications on your smartphone so you can quickly and easily access it during (or after) an emergency.

Photograph your house, car and other valuables. If you’re the victim of a hurricane, flood or other natural disaster, there’s a chance that your house, car and other possessions could be damaged. Keep photos of these items and other valuables (such as electronics, jewelry and furniture) on your phone to provide to your insurance company for the reimbursement process post-storm.

Add key phone numbers to your contact list. Before a storm hits, double check that you have phone numbers for your doctors, pharmacy, insurance companies, nearby hotels and shelters, disaster aid organizations and hospitals.

Check flood maps. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently revised flood maps across the country. To search by location, visit https://msc.fema.gov/portal/home.

Charge your devices. In preparation for a storm, keep your mobile devices charged and a battery pack handy so you can utilize them for communication and safety. Prepare and recover. The American Red Cross provides information on their website and free apps about severe weather situations. They also provide step-by-step instructions on preparing for – and recovering from – a severe weather event. People can also leverage these online tools to request assistance and learn how they can help others impacted by storms.

Know where to go for help. U.S. Cellular often responds to disasters by providing free portable chargers, and in-store charging and Wi-Fi at select retail stores and/or local shelter locations.

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