People living in hurricane prone areas should have a backup tech plan in case a storm hits, because Internet and cell phone connections are likely to go out, FEMA director Craig Fugate said Friday during the first day of the Atlantic Hurricane Center.
"It will go out, and if it doesn't go out, everybody will try to call each other and won't get through," Fugate said.
He urged families to have clear plans for how and where to meet up in case they can't use their phones. And he encouraged residents to make sure they have a battery operated radio to hear emergency bulletins from state and federal officials..
He asked residents to text and email rather than call during the height of a storm to reduce congestion.
Fugate said both wireless and wired technology will likely come back up quickly, but if electricity is spotty, keeping the gadgets charged may be tricky.
"When you evacuate, did you remember to bring that charger, and is there going to be a place to plug that in?" Fugate questioned, "What's your back up plan?"
He suggested people have portable battery-powered or hand crank chargers. Car chargers can also work.
Fugate spoke the Naitonal Hurricane Center in Miami, along with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Florida Gov. Rick Scott. All urged individuals to prepare before the storm, noting it only takes one to make land and wreak havoc.
Even tropical storms, especially if heavy winds are sustained over several hours, can cause serious damage, said National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read.
Scott reminded Floridians to have three days of food and make other preparations in case electricity goes out and doen't immediately return.
He joked that officials at Florida Department of Emergency Management had promised him the state won't face a hurricane while he's in office but said individuals need to be prepared just in case.