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2nd December 2015

Emergency Communications as the Summer Storm Season Hits Australia

As the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific hurricane seasons come to an end, the summer storm season across Oceania  is just getting started.  It’s that time of year again for our colleagues and customers in Australia and New Zealand and we want to ensure we do our bit to help keep people safe and businesses operating whilst the storms pass.

New South Wales and south east Queensland in particular are experiencing extreme weather conditions, such as dangerous golf ball sized hailstones damaging buildings,  high winds ripping off roofs and bringing powerlines down, and heavy rain bringing with it the risk of flash flooding.

The Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology has issued a state of emergency advisory, to recommend that the public :

  • Move cars under cover and away from trees
  • Secure or put away loose items around houses, yards and balconys
  • Keep clear of fallen power lines
  • Keep clear of creeks and storm drains
  • Don't walk, ride your bike or drive through flood water
  • If you are trapped by flash flooding, seek refuge in the highest available place and ring 000 if you need rescue
  • Unplug computers and appliances
  • Avoid using the phone during the storm
  • Stay indoors away from windows, and keep children and pets indoors as well

Source: BOM http://www.bom.gov.au/index.php 

During storms it’s common for phone and power lines to suffer damage, so satellite communications devices can provide vital voice and SMS services, as well as reliable data communications, to affected areas after storms when terrestrial services fail. With recommendations against using traditional communications equipment such as computers and phones, Satcom Global wanted to highlight some of the emergency communications devices available to the public to ensure you always have a line of communication to your loved ones and businesses

Arguably the fastest and easiest way to summon help when terrestrial networks are congested and phone lines are down is to use a satellite phone. Global satellite network providers Inmarsat, Iridium and Thuraya provide a varied range of handheld satellite phones for emergency situations, most of which have GPS and emergency service features. Inmarsat’s leading handset is the ready, robust and reliable IsatPhone 2, Iridium’s offering includes the ruggedized Iridium Extreme 9575, and the latest addition to Thuraya’s portfolio is the value-for-money Thuraya XT-LITE handset.

In addition to sat phones, compact portable satellite antennas such as the EXPLORER range on Inmarsat’s BGAN network can provide a vital communications link to the outside world. Furthermore, a Wi-Fi Hotspot such as the Iridium Go! or Thuraya SatSleeve Hotspot, can turn your smartphone into a satellite solution allowing you to stay in touch both outdoors and indoors protected from the elements.

Once you have an emergency communications back up plan, ensure its ready to use at a minutes notice. Storms don’t wait to hit at a convenient time! Charge your satellite phone battery once a month and purchase a back-up battery. Check your subscription or credit balance and top-up if necessary, and finally test your satellite phone regularly using the below methods:

  • Iridium – Make your free test call from your Iridium 9555, Iridium Extreme 9575 or Iridium 9505A, by dialling 00-1-480-752-5105.
  • Inmarsat - If your Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro has been out of use for a period of time, please make a free test call from your phone by dialling: +870 776 999 999.
  • Thuraya - Dial 11 11 2 to test your Thuraya XT LITE, Thuraya XT PRO, Thuraya XT, Thuraya SatSleeve Hotspot and Thuraya SatSleeve+ satellite phones. Upon dialling this number, a short confirmation message will be played and if you can hear the message it means your phone is in working condition and your subscription is valid.

For more information on emergency communications solutions, please JustAsk@satcomglobal.com, and if you are based in Oceania please talk to our teams on the ground in Brisbane and Perth for localised advice on Oceania@satcomglobal.com

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Australia Emergency Communications
If you are trapped by flash flooding, seek refuge in the highest available place and ring 000 if you need rescue"
The Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology