Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services

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Joseph F. Williams

John G. Jordan Sr.

Edward C. Schneyer
Director of the Office of Emergency Management
PO BOX 127
MAIN 631-852-4900
FAX 631-852-4922

Getting Help - Resolve to be Ready in 2015

Resolve To Be Ready: Additional Topics

This section provides practical “dos and don’ts” on getting emergency assistance through your mobile device during an emergency.

 Remember “Text, Don’t Talk.”

Accessing 9-1-1

If you need life-saving aid, you should CALL 9-1-1. Do NOT text or tweet to 9-1-1.

Maximizing battery life

Minimize non-emergency uses of your cell phone. Limit non-emergency calls to conserve battery power and free-up wireless networks for vital communications. If you do need to communicate, send brief text messages rather than voice calls – often text messages get through when wireless networks are overwhelmed during a crisis.

For non-emergency communications, use text messaging, e-mail or social media instead of making voice calls on your cell phone to avoid tying up voice networks. Data-based services like texts and emails are less likely to experience network congestion.

If traditional hardwire Internet is available use it as oppose to using your mobile device to check weather and news reports.

Use of traditional phone land-lines

If you have a traditional (non-broadband or VoIP) phone, keep at least one non-cordless receiver in your home because it will work even if you lose power. If you are evacuated and have callforwarding on your home phone, forward your home phone number to your cell phone number.

Cell phone use while driving during an emergency

If you do not have a hands-free device in your car, stop driving or pull over to the side of the road before making a call. Do not text on a cell phone, talk or “tweet” without a hands free device while driving.

Streaming videos to watch the news on my smartphone following an emergency and disaster?

Getting information during an emergency is one of the most valuable resources afforded to you from your mobile device. Immediately following a disaster resist using your mobile device to watch streaming videos or perform non-vital services such as downloading music or videos. These can all lead to network congestion and delay emergency response times.

Smart Tips

Keep your calls brief and convey only vital information to emergency personnel and/or family. If you cannot complete a call using your cell phone, wait ten seconds before redialing. This will increase the likelihood of completing your call.

If you lose power on your device consider using a car charger. If you need to start the vehicle, be sure it is in a well-ventilated place (remove it from the garage if applicable). Your car radio is also a great way to stay informed as you charge your device. Broadcasters will be distributing important news alerts. Click here for additional tips on getting tech ready .

During a significant crisis or emergency CMAS may be activated.
What is the Commercial Mobile Alerting System (CMAS)?
CMAS is a new public safety system:

 Allows enabled mobile devices to receive geographically targeted, text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their area. These emergency alerts are delivered with high priority within the communications system.

So how does CMAS alerting work?

Authorized national, state or local government officials send alerts regarding public safety emergencies such as a tornado warning or a terrorism alert to CMAS. CMAS authenticates the alert, verifies that the sender is authorized and sends it to participating wireless carriers. The wireless carriers then push the alerts from their cell towers to CMAS-enabled mobile devices in the affected area. Alerts appear like text messages.

What should you expect during an emergency?
  • Alerts are geographically targeted; they are issued based on where you are physically located at the time of the alert.
  • CMAS covers only critical emergency alerts
    • alerts issued by the President of the United States
    • alerts involving imminent threats to life safety; and,
    • AMBER Alerts
  • Consumers are automatically signed up assuming they have a CMAS-enabled mobile device and are a subscriber with a participating wireless carrier.
  • You do not need to sign-up for this service.
  • Alerts are Free - customers do not pay to receive CMAS alerts.
  • A CMAS alert will be accompanied by a unique alert sound and vibration, which is particularly helpful to people with hearing or vision-related disabilities.