Monday, March 11, 2019

Cell Phones #Emergencies #Tips

A few month's ago, I was invited to a senior center to sign books. After the signing, the visiting authors were invited to stay for lunch and to sit in on the seminars. One of the seminars offered was lecture from a representative from the FCC discussing cell phone safety. He had several great tips, so I started taking notes to share here!

With spring and summer storms coming, there will inevitably be power outages. For those who have kept landlines, that won't be a problem. But if you're like me and only have a cell's a few tips for surviving power outages with only a cell phone:
*Keep your phone charged.
*Buy a portable battery charger and keep it charged and ready. (They're small external batteries you can plug your phone into and charge up. They come in many different power amounts. I have both a small one that will do a single charge and a larger one that will charge several times. See what's available on Amazon. .)
*Set phone to battery saver in the phone's settings.
*Email and text people to save battery because phone calls drain the battery faster.
*Remember you can charge your phone in your car. One summer, our electric was out for over a week. We made a lot of trips to the theater for air-conditioned entertainment and charged our electronics as we drove!

Phone bills:
Question all charges. Anything the phone company cannot properly explain, contact the FCC. A common bill problem is "cramming" or charging people for services without authorization.

Lost Phones:
*Report lost and stolen phones to your carrier.
*Know your carrier and how to reach them. My son's phone was stolen and we contacted AT&T and they helped us locate the phone to a specific address. We called our local police and the phone was turned over without a problem. (Do this quickly! Once the SIM card is removed, it's no longer traceable.)
*Wipe your phone. Almost all phones can be remotely cleared so there is no breach of personal information.

Miscellaneous phone tips:

*Back up your pictures: Periodically download picture to your computer.
OR share them to Facebook . You can post albums and pictures either by sharing with friends, or set to private so that only you can see them. Here's a good how-to share privately.
OR use Amazon Prime. If you're a prime member, you can download an app to your phone and computer and pictures will be downloaded to your Amazon account automatically.  

*Don't answer calls from unknown numbers to avoid scammers. Cell phone numbers don't have caller ID like the old line phones did. Set up voicemail and allow all unrecognized numbers to go to voicemail. If they're legitimate calls, they will leave a message and you can call back.

*Password protect your phone. Not only does it stop a thief from getting your private information, if you're ever arrested, it stops you from sharing information with the police too prematurely. ;)


  1. Hi Elizabeth - great list of tips and ideas ... and well done for taking notes to be passed on to us - very grateful - cheers Hilary

    1. I'm always on the look out for good stuff to share!

  2. Great tips.
    I didn't know that about Amazon prime having a backup picture file. I have been using Drop box to transfer my pictures too.

    1. I should have added a link above. I'll add it here instead. :)

  3. Luckily I have a land line plus a flip top cell phone which isn't used that much. But good idea to make a note of the tips Liz.

    Do they pay you to put in an appearance and sign books? If so you could come up to Kitchener and we could meet.

    1. No, but I keep the money from the book sales. I would love to come to Kitchener to sell books. That would be sweet.

  4. Good tips! I didn't know about downloading photos to Amazon. Cool.


    1. It's a good service. I have mine set to auto download, so I don't even have to think to do it.

  5. I literally never leave the house without my back up phone charger thingy, because I never know how much I'll be using the phone while at work!

    Didn't know about the wiping your phone remotely option... going to look into that, thanks:)

    1. I believe, if you have an Apple account, you can wipe it from your iTunes account. I'm not familiar with other brands, but I assume your carrier would know.

      I have battery thingys of all sizes. One small enough for a pocket. Another monster one that fits in my purse.


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