How to prepare for cell phone service outage

Most of us know how to prepare for a tornado or snow storm. But what about a back up plan if your cell phone is having problems, like many of you experienced on Wednesday during a widespread service outage?

Kennae Fenton was on the phone with her mom when it happened.

"All of a sudden it went completely dead," says Fenton.

When she tried calling her mom back, she got the message: "The number you have dialed has been changed, disconnected or is no longer in service."

That recording was heard throughout the Local 6 area, all because of a fiber cut. Fenton says there needs to be a plan in place for when things like that happen.

"It’s very scary to think about that," says Fenton.

I spoke with Evelyn Miller with American Red Cross over the phone about ways families can plan ahead for something like this.

"If they had a landline connection that was still connected to the telephone company, they can still call 911 through that even if they don’t have phone services," says Miller.

If you don’t mind spending some money, Miller suggests investing in a CB Radio, like the ones tractor-trailer drivers use, or getting everyone in your family long-distance walkie-talkie.

If you have an iPhone and can connect to Wi-Fi, you can iMessage other Apple users.

If your service isn’t working, but you can still get on the internet, email and social media are great tools to let your family know you’re okay.

"It’s absolutely a relief every time she answers the phone and I know that she’s okay," says Fenton.

The panic Fenton felt on Wednesday is something she never wants to go through again, but says she knows there’s always a possibility when it comes to technology.

Many wireless providers will reimburse customers after an outage. If you find yourself in this situation, try giving them a call once service is restored to see if they can do that for you.

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