"Because Brunswick County is a coastal community, it is vital for families to have a Home Emergency Communications Plan. It is critically important when you have children or elderly people living in your home. You need to be prepared."
Randy Thompson
Brunswick Emergency Service Director

Brunswick Emergency Services and ATMC
Stress Importance of
Home Emergency Communications Plans

Shallotte, NC -- ATMC and Brunswick Emergency Services (BES) have joined together to stress to residents in Brunswick County the importance of having a Home Emergency Communications Plan for communicating during crises and natural disasters. In a recent survey conducted by AT&T and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), the majority of respondents felt that having a home emergency plan was important, but 68% admitted to not having such a plan in place.

"Because Brunswick County is a coastal community, it is vital for families here to have a Home Emergency Communications Plan", said Randy Thompson, Brunswick Emergency Services Director. He added, "Over the last 10 years, we have been very fortunate to have experienced minimal hurricane activity, but the next tropical disturbance could be a different story. Having an effective Emergency Communications Plan in place for emergencies or natural disasters is critically important, especially when you have children or elderly people in your home. You need to be prepared."

The key elements of a home emergency plan include creating a plan; identifying a "home base", a centrally-located corded landline telephone for making emergency calls quickly; education of children on how to call 9-1-1; and designating a physical meeting place and check-in person for situations that separate family members. Plans should include specifics on how and when to communicate with each other and family members outside the home, and how to contact emergency personnel if necessary.

"A major component of communications is having a reliable means of communicating with the outside world during a home emergency or natural disaster. The most reliable method is to have a corded landline phone in addition to a cell phone," said Thompson. "Having a corded landline phone enables the caller to use Brunswick County's enhanced 9-1-1 services which enable emergency dispatchers to automatically know the caller's location. Corded phones are the most reliable means of communications because they do not depend on household electricity to work."

"The value of a corded landline telephone is immeasurable," said Clint Berry, ATMC Vice President, Network Operations. He added "Landline phones are powered by our telephone network, and our telephone lines are buried underground, giving us an increased level of protection from wind, ice and other things that can disrupt telephone service. In addition, all of our switches have secondary power sources from both batteries and backup generators. These things make it less likely that landline telephone service will be negatively impacted by lightning, power outages and tropical disturbances. While no telephone service is guaranteed to be 100% foolproof, ATMC's landline service operates with 99.999% reliability. In times of emergency, you can depend on your corded landline to call 9-1-1 for help."

For more information and tips on how you can create a Home Emergency Communications Plan, log-on to the Brunswick Emergency Services website at http://www.brunswickes.com or ATMC at www.atmc.net. You may also call BES at 253-4376. "You have to be prepared," concluded Thompson. "Let's control the things that we can control."