Thunder Roads Magazine MO/So. IL 2017-September - Page 16

Safety FIRST personnel know your service provider… so be sure to share this informa- tion with any emergency contacts and include it in your emergency kit. 3) GET TEXT SAVVY By Matt Thomason If you can’t get a call out, don’t lose hope! Did you know text mes- sages can sometimes go through when calls won’t? If you need a quick While doing research for this series of articles on emergency com- way to get in touch with family during an emergency situation, try a text. munications, particularly for motorcycle enthusiasts, I came across a When the cellular network is crowded, a text may have a better chance very well-written article from April 2015, titled “Tips & Tricks for Using at slipping through than a call would (similar to using your phone in a Your Cell Phone in Emergencies” on the website www.puretalksusa. crowded sports stadium). A text may also go through when you have a com. While it is important to understand the process of an emergency low signal because it takes less bandwidth to transmit. call, I also found this article to be quite insightful and wanted to share 4) LEARN TO SAVE BATTERY it with you. If I find myself in any emergency situation, whether on mo- It likely comes as no surprise that battery conservation is essential torcycle or not, I need every advantage to stack the odds in my favor. during emergency situations. Oftentimes, you won’t have the opportunity We don’t want to just merely survive as motorcycle enthusiasts; we’re (or the ability) to charge your phone. You can save battery by reduc- fundamentally predisposed to THRIVE as motorcycle enthusiasts. If an ing the backlight on your phone, turning off any extra features like WiFi, emergency takes me out of the game, then I lose...and I hate losing! Bluetooth, and any running applications, and keeping the phone in a cool There’s no doubt that we’re a wireless society now. As landlines place. You’ll also want to be sure you’re only using the device when you become less and less prominent in our lives, our communication habits absolutely need to. If you’re going to be using the device frequently, do have changed… and that goes for emergency communications, too. not turn it off between calls or texts. Repeatedly turning your device off According to the FCC, approximately 70% of 911 calls are placed and on actually uses a significant amount of battery power. by wireless phones. This shift has created unique challenges and 5) ESTABLISH AN ICE CONTACT guidelines for using your cell phone in an emergency situation: like what What happens if you’re in a situation where you can’t communicate to do if you don’t have service, how to make sure your location known, with emergency personnel or relatives? This is where an ICE (In Case and what to do if the call ends. of Emergency) contact is crucial. Store your emergency contact in your Despite these challenges, cell phones can be great tools in phone with ICE before their name so aides know who to contact if you emergencies—whether it’s a car accident, robbery, or you’re just plain can’t tell them yourself. Make sure the kids also have your number stranded. In fact, cell phones are often recommended in survival kits. stored in their phones as ICE as well. So for example, this would read So, here are some tips and tricks to remember for emergency cell “ICE Mom” or “ICE Dad”. phone use: These tips and tricks are certainly helpful and I hope you are able to 1) “NO SERVICE” DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN NO SERVICE. integrate these into your thought processes should you ever find yourself How many times have you seen “zero bars” on your phone and put in an emergency situation. it away instead of trying to make a call? Well if you’re trying to call 911, Contacting 911 is stressful. The only reason we should ever call DON’T make this mistake. Thanks to the FCC, network providers must that number is because of an emergency. The dispatchers at the end transmit an emergency call (911) regardless of whether you use their of the line are highly-skilled at working with you to get the information service or not. they need. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when calling So what does this mean? Well, if your provider doesn’t have them. The first, if possible, is to make sure you are in a safe location to coverage in that area, your phone will show that it has no service. But, be a communicator, a helper to the emergency responders. another provider may offer coverage there and will transmit your 911 Another important item is to understand where you are. Sure, the call for you, so definitely give the call a try. article talks about the technology that can be used to help locate you, You can also reach 911 with a cell phone that is not associated but some of it can take a lot of time - time you do not have if you are in a with a provider. This means the old phone you have stored away can life-threatening situation. Along with the road you are on, pay attention to be a great emergency device. As long as it has battery power and can your surroundings. Sometimes being able to identify a nearby building or reach a signal, your phone can connect to 911. However, keep in mind land feature can help dispatchers and responders locate you as well. this means your call cannot be returned because there isn’t a numb er Lastly, as much as possible, keep calm. Take a couple deep breaths associated with your device. So, if the call gets disconnected, you need while dialing and waiting on the dispatchers to answer. This will help you to be the one to call back. focus and more clearly communicate. Also: don’t be surprised if they ask 2) CAN’T MAKE A CALL? KEEP YOUR PHONE ON. you to hold while they transfer the call to an appropriate agency. If you’ve tried to reach 911 and still can’t get a call through, you’re While we never want to have to dial 911 for an emergency, it is probably in an area with no service—period. Although it may seem important to know how to communicate the need for help. In this series counterintuitive, don’t turn your phone off. Before your phone sends we have discussed multiple ways motorcycle enthusiasts can do this as out the call, it makes contact with the closest tower: a concept called a well as many features that your mobile phones may have to help you. digital handshake. Now that you are armed with the security of being able to confidently ask Your phone leaves a data trail that is stored with your service pro- for help in an emergency, get out and ride and enjoy! Sign up for a rider vider and indicates the last time you attempted to place a call—even if safety course, and live to ride another day! the call didn’t go through. This can help emergency personnel pinpoint ...and “Hey! Let’s be CAREFUL out there!” your location even if you can’t get a call out. It can also let them know to keep trying to get to you! However, this can only work if emergency “Can You Hear Me Now? Part IV” Thunder Roads Magazine 14