FCC Cautions Against Hurricane Isaac: Power Protection at its Peak

August 28, 2012

By Allison Boccamazzo - Director of Brand Strategy

As one of the strongest storms to impact the U.S. coast over the last century, Hurricane Katrina carried winds of up to 175 mph and was classified as a strong category four hurricane. Claiming the lives of thousands – as well as those who remain unknown – this deadly natural disaster seems like it only happened yesterday. Now, it seems as if the U.S. will receive an incredibly grim but real reenactment with quickly approaching tropical storm, Isaac that is on the verge of becoming a hurricane and seems to be following the eerily similar path which led Hurricane Katrina to become so destructive almost exactly seven years ago.

Serving as the first true test of the new $14 billion remodeled New Orleans area after Katrina’s strike, many are taking every precaution against what could be an equally vicious impending storm, including floodwalls and floodgates. Click here to see a comparison of Hurricane Katrina’s path back in 2005, and how Isaac looks to be on the same course at certain points as presented by USA Today.

The tropical storm has already pounded out rough enough weather to create a string of power outages in Central Florida yesterday morning. “Parts of the region were in the dark after a line of strong, blustery storms walloped Orange (News - Alert), Osceola, Brevard and Seminole Counties with winds in excess of 50 mph,” reports the Orlando Sentinel, adding that the outages and traffic that resulted from it were issues that the area tried to work through during the heavy downpours.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC (News - Alert)) has also just issued a list of tips for keeping communication steady during such emergencies. They include:

  1. Limiting non-emergency phone calls to help reduce network congestion, freeing up "space" on the network for emergency communications and conserve battery power if using wireless devices.
  2. Keeping all phone calls limited to the sole purpose of conveying vital information to emergency personnel and/or family.
  3. Using text-messaging (or SMS) as opposed to phone calls for non-emergency purposes, as most chances are text messages will go through when phone calls will not. Additionally, this helps reserve room for urgent, emergency calls and messages.
  4. If possible, try a variety of communications services if you are unsuccessful in getting through with one. For example, if you are unsuccessful in getting through on your wireless phone, try a messaging capability like text messaging or e-mail. Alternatively, try a landline phone if one is available. This will help spread the communications demand over multiple networks and should reduce overall congestion.
  5. Waiting 10 seconds before redialing a call. By pushing “send” too quickly after re-dialing, the data from the handset to the cell sites do not have enough time to clear before you've resent the same data, which can clog up the network.
  6. Placing calls in your vehicle only while it is stationery.
  7. Forward your home number to your wireless number, so you can better receive incoming calls from your landline.
  8. If you do lose power, use your car to charge your mobile device while also listening to the news on the radio to stay updated with the latest announcements. (Only approach your car if you feel safe enough to)
  9. Tune-in to broadcast and radio news for important news alerts.

Many areas remain concerned over the effects of tropical storm Isaac, such as Jefferson Parish. L.A. President John Young explains to WWLTV how parish officials are bracing themselves for flooding and power outages as Isaac makes its way through and past its metropolitan area.

“The projections are 15-20 inches of rain,” says Young, but flooding isn’t his biggest concern when compared to the potential of intense power outages, where he predicts the power could be out anywhere from two to five days. Young can’t help but think back on the 2008 Hurricane Gustav, which “took out the transmission lines all the way from here to Baton Rouge,” he added. “We were out of power for seven to 10 days in some spots.”

While the nation braces itself for what could become a very powerful hurricane, the importance of power protection products and solutions remains clear. Areas all along the coast should stock up on high-quality uninterruptable power supplies in preparation for a natural disaster of any kind – whether to stay in the know about emergency information and updates or to keep your business running while everyone else is running for cover.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Jamie Epstein