NEW YORK, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- U.S. wireless carriers, preparing for the impact of Hurricane Sandy Monday, urged customers to text rather than call to reduce network congestion.
"Limit non-emergency calls to save battery power and free up wireless networks for emergency workers and operations, and send brief text messages instead," Verizon Wireless said in a hurricane preparedness statement reported by NBC News.
"When the network gets busy, texts have a higher chance of getting through the first time and can be more efficient," the statement said.
Wireless carriers also suggested users keep their phones, and accessories like chargers and spare batteries, in sealed plastic bags to avoid water damage.
If cell service goes down in users' areas but their home WiFi network remains on, they should switch their phones to WiFi, carriers said.
All carriers have been setting up portable cell sites and mobile emergency generators in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast that can replace cell towers that could be damaged in the storm, NBC reported.