Winter Storm tips -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Winter Storm safety tips


  • Keep your wireless phone batteries charged at all times. Have an alternative plan to recharge your battery in case of a power outage, such as using your car charger to charge your device or having extra mobile phone batteries on hand.
  • Have a family communication plan in place. Designate someone out of the area as a central contact, and make certain that all family members know who to contact if they get separated. Most importantly, practice your emergency plan in advance.
  • Program all of your emergency contact numbers and e-mail addresses into your mobile phone. Numbers should include the police department, fire station and hospital, as well as your family members.
  • Track the storm and access weather information on your wireless device. Many homes lose power during severe weather. If you have a wireless device that provides access to the Internet, you can watch weather reports on your phone.** 
  • Camera phones provide assistance. If you have a camera phone, take, store and send photos — even video clips — of damaged property to your insurance company from your device.
  • Take advantage of location-based mapping technology.  Services such as AT&T Navigator and AT&T FamilyMap can help you seek evacuation routes or avoid traffic congestion from downed trees or power lines, as well as track a family member's wireless device in case you get separated.**

  •  CLICK HERE to see where Georgia Power is experiencing power outages.


Maximizing Service During and After a Storm:

  • Try text messaging. During an emergency situation, text messages may go through more quickly than voice calls because they require fewer network resources. All of AT&T's wireless devices are text messaging capable. Depending on your text or data plan, additional charges may apply.
  • Keep non-emergency calls to a minimum, and limit your calls to the most important ones. If there is severe weather, chances are many people will be attempting to place calls to loved ones, friends and business associates.
  • Be prepared for high call volume. During an emergency, many people are trying to use their phones at the same time. The increased calling volume may create network congestion, leading to "fast busy" signals on your wireless phone or a slow dial tone on your landline phone. If this happens, hang up, wait several seconds and then try the call again. This allows your original call data to clear the network before you try again.


Device Protection Tips:

You're careful enough to protect yourself with coats, gloves and scarves, but what about your smartphone, tablet and notebook? It requires a few special precautions to keep it safe from winter weather too.  Exposing your devices to extreme cold temperatures for extended periods of time may:

* Cause your battery to drain faster

* With prolonged exposure, make the phone's hardware more brittle and can lead to cracked screens, especially on devices with glass screens

* Cause condensation to form inside your screen if you turn it on while it is still cold

* Increase potential for permanent damage if you leave your device in "sleep mode" for an extended period of time, especially with netbooks.

So here are some tips for protecting your devices in extreme cold weather:

* The biggest and most obvious – don't take your device out in extreme temperatures.  When you're outside in weather like this, keep it in your purse, bag or pocket.   Keep it protected.

* Don't leave it in your car or trunk for extended periods of time –definitely not overnight or if you're driving up to the Poconos for a day of skiing or snowboarding, don't leave it in your car all day. 

* Don't take your phone outside to shovel snow or sled with your kids because not only do you expose it to the cold, but you have the chance of getting it wet.

* Keep your phone or device in a protective case.  We recommend something like the Lifeproof  or OtterBox case.  These are waterproof, drop resistant and dirt proof.   

* Your phone probably isn't going to stop ringing just because it's cold out, so if you expect to be out in the cold for a while and want to heed our advice about keeping it in your pocket, invest in a Bluetooth device/earbud with mic and call answer buttons so that you can leave the device in your pocket while talking.

* If you know for some reason that you just have to expose your device to the cold for an extended period of time, turn it off and don't turn it back on until it has warmed up (this helps to keep condensation from forming.)

* Finally, for protecting yourself, if you're going to use your device outside or in cold temps, get yourself a pair of touchscreen gloves that you can leave on while using your device.   



Georgia's Insurance and Fire Commissioner offers these tips-

  • If snow or icy conditions cause damage to either your house or car, contact your insurance agent immediately.  Your agent should provide you with claims forms and arrange for an insurance adjuster to visit your property.  If you can't reach your agent, contact the insurance company. 


  • Remember in severe weather to drive with caution.  Inclement weather does not absolve you of liability should you have an automobile accident.  It is your responsibility to drive with a degree of caution warranted by hazardous conditions.


  • When filing a homeowners claim, make a list of all your property and valuables you believe were damaged or destroyed.  Take photographs of damage to submit with your claim.


  • Secure your property.  For example, if a tree falls and damages your roof, cover the affected area with a tarp or plywood to reduce further damage.  Your insurance company will reimburse you for repair costs, but may not pay for subsequent damage caused by rain, sleet or snow.  Keep receipts of materials used for repairs.


  • If damage is so severe you have to leave, remove valuable items if there's nowhere in the home to lock them up.


  • If you rent, you must have your own renters policy to cover your personal belongings such as furniture, appliances and clothing.  The management/landlord is not responsible unless you can prove they were negligent.


  • Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires in Georgia.  Portable space heaters, open fireplaces and wood stoves can be dangerous if misused.  Keep curtains, draperies, and other flammable material away from heat sources.  Make sure heaters have adequate ventilation, and always follow the manufacturer's operating instructions. 


  • Have your home heating unit checked annually to be sure it is working efficiently and safely. Make sure all fuel-burning appliances and fireplaces are properly vented. If you suspect a gas leak in your home, leave immediately and call the gas company from elsewhere.


  • If you use kerosene space heaters, make sure each heater has an automatic shut‑off in case it tips over. Use only K‑1 kerosene in a space heater; gasoline can cause an explosion.


  • Install an adequate number of smoke alarms.  Most fatal fires start between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., while the family is asleep.  The advance warning of a smoke alarm may mean the difference between life and death.  Nine out of 10 fire victims are already dead before the fire department is even called, mainly from smoke and toxic gases.  If you already have smoke alarms, don't forget to replace the batteries annually.


  • Each household should have a well‑rehearsed family escape plan.  All rooms, especially bedrooms, should have two escape routes.  Have a predetermined meeting place outside the house so you can be sure everyone is out safely.


  • When temperatures drop into the teens or twenties, homeowners should be prepared for frozen pipes.  Leaving kitchen cabinet doors open will allow warm air to reach pipes.  If the worst happens, repairing damage to internal plumbing caused by freezing, and related damage to carpeting, furniture and other belongings may be covered by your homeowners policy. 


If you have questions about your policy, contact your agent or company.   If you are experiencing difficulty reaching your company or your agent, call Commissioner Hudgens' Consumer Services Hotline at 1-800-656-2298.   Phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.


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