Sunday, November 4, 2007

Earthquakes and Cell Phones

A Public Service Thought by Bruce E. Simmons

The other day, there was a 5.6 earthquake nearby, here in the Bay Area of California. My place felt like a 1/2 mile long trash truck drove by with the usual hanging items swinging to and fro afterwards.

My wife's natural instinct was to pick up her cell phone and call her sister. She wanted to brag about yet another earthquake in California that she survived, and to let her know we were fine.

We got through on our Verizon based cell phone service. (That's not a kudos to Verizon.. just a statement of fact.) Yet according to co-workers and others, some had a pickle of a time and others were ok.

In Santa Clara County, Verizon Wireless usually has around 300,000 calls on their network between 8 and 9 pm, but the quake helped that number spike to 2.3 million calls and the system could not handle it and became overloaded for about 25 minutes.

These are just numbers from Verizon. Never mind the other cell providers!

One suggestion from AT&T I read caught my eye: It makes me wonder if the networks for the cell providers have different channels for the process, but the suggestion was to text friends and loved ones. This leaves the call channels free for those who may really be in need of making a phone call.. and if you were one of those in need, that could be a much appreciated courtesy.

My take: If you're thinking of that, I'd recommend arranging with your family that you are going to text them. A lot of my family or older friends don't comprehend the process of texting. So I've made arrangements with my out of state emergency contacts, letting them know I am going to text them in case of an earthquake.

With this process in place, it would seem you get your message out, and your support network will know things are good. I can't wait to give it try at the next earthquake. I've experienced 2 in the last year in this region, so I know I'll be getting a chance pretty soon to test this theory!!

Word / Thoughts SOURCE: paloaltodailynews
Image Source: BBC News Science Section on Earthquakes

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Hi - sorry for the confirmation but I need to weed out the noise from the well intended comments. Thanks for leaving a note... - Bruce