Staying connected during the storm

Published 6:11 pm Tuesday, September 11, 2018

When the power goes out during a natural disaster, communication is often one of the first thing to go. In the age of cell phones, however, this is not always the case. If used with discretion, cell phone batteries can last for days.

While staying in touch with loved ones is certainly important, communication itself becomes a valuable resource during a disaster.


Charge all cell phones in the house to full battery before the storm hits. For households with multiple cell phones, use only one at a time to conserve battery life. Consider purchasing a backup battery bank to allow for recharging in the event of an extended outage. Car chargers can come in handy in a pinch.

Sign up for Hyper-Reach, the county’s emergency communication system. The Hyper-Reach signup page can be accessed via the Beaufort County website at

Check for regular updates before, during and after the storm at

Follow local information sources on social media. Regular updates can be found on Facebook through The Washington Daily News, Beaufort County NC Emergency Services, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office–NC and City of Washington–NC.

Customers of Tideland Electric can sign up for text message alerts from the power company by texting “TEMC” to 85700. Duke Energy customers can sign up for alerts by texting “REG” to 57801.

Create an emergency contact list on your devices and write down important numbers and contacts.


The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends that non-emergency calls be limited as much as possible in order to free up the airwaves for emergency communications.

Keep conversations short, relaying only necessary information. This can help conserve battery life.

Use text messaging when possible for non-emergency communications. If you still have access to internet service through WiFi or your smartphone, messaging applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger can help keep lines of communication open.

Check your phone’s settings and enable power-saving mode. In some cases, this can almost double your phone’s battery life.

Call 911 only in emergencies.

Make sure that there are no applications running in the background on your phone, as these can quickly drain battery life.