HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – When severe weather is looming, one of the first things most people turn to is cell phones to make calls.
The problem is that too many people making phone calls at one time in a particular area can cause a clog in the lines and overwhelm cell phone towers. Another issue is that cell phones don't always work when the power goes out.
Always make sure you cell phone is fully charged, and have a plan to recharge it in case the power goes out, whether using your vehicle or an extra cell phone battery.
When it comes to using cell phones during severe weather, the main thing is to keep phone lines open and clear for emergency officials.
Officials say that text messaging is the easiest way to get a message out to concerned family or friends, as they will travel faster than a phone call. Experts say make sure there is an actual emergency if you need to speak to someone over the phone, and try to keep it short.
"In a real emergency, keep your calls brief and to the point," says Tom Vitt with HTC. "Don't just stand there looking out the window and say 'wow, it's really raining hard,' just say 'hey, I'm okay, got to go'."
All emergency numbers should be programmed into cell and home phones, police department, fire station and hospital numbers, so they don't have to be tracked down during or after an emergency.