As the temperatures fall and snowy weather threatens Oklahoma, U.S. Cellular wants to make sure people can stay connected during the storm.
Cellphone users can plan ahead if they have to travel and should be aware that significant temperature changes could damage their cellphones.
“Your mobile phone helps make life simpler and easier,” said Tommy Arens, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in Oklahoma. “During severe weather, smartphones give you quick access to a host of apps, websites and emergency information that can help keep you and your family safe and connected.”
U.S. Cellular customers with select mobile devices receive Wireless Emergency Alerts — created by the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“Wireless Emergency Alerts provide customers with access to the most up-to-date emergency information at their fingertips,” Arens said. “The free alerts are another way customers can stay connected while on the go.”
Before heading into the winter weather, U.S. Cellular advises “winterizing” wireless phones just like one might winterize an automobile.
Following these simple steps will help you stay ahead of the storm:
• Have important numbers handy. Preprogram emergency phone numbers and those of family and friends into a cellphone for easy access. Cellphone users should also provide their mobile number to an emergency contact in the event of an urgent situation.
• Stay up to date with breaking news. There are many free apps available through Google Play — such as The Weather Channel, WeatherBug, MyRadar, GO Weather and AccuWeather for Android — that can provide users with the tools needed to stay on top of severe weather.
• Break through with texting. If phone service is impacted by a high volume of calls during a storm, try sending a text message. Text messages take up less bandwidth on the network than calls and may work when phone service is intermittent.
• Keep your phone warm. Cold temperatures could harm the battery on your device or create other issues that prevent the phone from operating at its peak performance. If your cellphone is exposed to cold temperatures, allow the phone to warm up to room temperature before using it. Store your phone in a warm place. Do not place it in an outside pocket of your coat or backpack or in the car overnight. When out in the cold, carry your phone in an inside jacket pocket, keeping it close to your body for warmth.
• Respond quickly to water exposure. If your cellphone gets wet from the condensation, power it down right away and remove the battery. Grab a towel or napkins to get as much excess water off the phone as you can. Remove any skins, covers or faceplates. If your phone has a sliding keypad, you should open it up, so air can reach it. Leave a wet phone powered down for a day or two to give the internal circuitry a chance to completely dry out.
• Stay charged up. Phones should be kept charged so customers have sufficient battery life when they need it. If driving, keep a car charger with you to recharge while on the go or keep an extra charged battery with you. If a battery starts to run out, U.S. Cellular customers can switch out a dead or dying battery for free at any U.S. Cellular store through the company's Battery Swap program.