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Technology Can Help When Severe Weather Strikes

KNOXVILLE -– Last year, there were more than 1,200 tornadoes in the United States. When a tornado or severe thunderstorm approaches an area, a cell phone is an important tool during times of emergency.

"When severe weather strikes, our engineers work tirelessly to ensure that our high-speed nationwide network continues to run smoothly. We want to help our customers stay connected to the people and information that's important to them," said Jack Brundige, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in Tennessee. U.S. Cellular has the highest call quality and network satisfaction of nay national carrier.*

U.S. Cellular offers tips on how your cell phone can be a great tool during severe weather:

Stay charged up. Phones should be charged daily so that individuals have sufficient battery life when they need it. If driving, keep a car charger nearby to re-charge when you are on-the-go. If a battery starts to run out, U.S. Cellular customers can switch out their dead or dying battery for free at any U.S. Cellular store through the industry-leading Battery Swap program.

Have important numbers handy and back them up. Keep all the numbers for local emergency contacts and immediate family stored in a cell phone for easy access in an emergency. With the free My Contacts Backup application, U.S. Cellular customers can safely store valuable contact information online for easy retrieval, even if the phone is lost or damaged beyond repair.

Store "ICE" (In Case of Emergency) contacts in your phone. Simply program "ICE" in front of a person's name or title, such as "ICE Mom" or "ICE Dave," to help first responders quickly contact these important people. Make sure the ICE contact knows about any medical conditions that could affect emergency treatment for an individual, such as allergies or current medication.

Break through with texting. If phone service is disrupted by a high volume of calls during a storm, try sending a text message. Text messages take up less bandwidth than calls and often work when phone service is disrupted.

Rely on your phone to access websites and applications. When dealing with severe weather, staying up-to-date with forecasts is critical. Cell phones can instantly connect users to the Internet. Applications, such as The Weather Channel, can be downloaded for immediate access to weather information, as well as radar and satellite maps for more than 44,000 U.S. locations. There also are applications that can turn an Android-powered device, BlackBerry or Windows smartphone into useful tools such as a flashlight or a compass.

U.S. Cellular rewards its customers with the unmatched benefits of The Belief Project, an array of industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Belief Project, named Frost & Sullivan's Customer Value Enhancement of the Year, complements the Chicago-based carrier's growing catalog of cutting-edge phones that are all backed by its high-speed nationwide network. U.S. Cellular was recently named a J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Customer Service Champion and was also named one of Forbes Magazine's 2010 "Most Trustworthy Companies." To learn more about U.S. Cellular, visit one of its retail stores or uscellular.com. You can also check out U.S. Cellular on Facebook.

*"Source: The Nielsen Company estimation based on an independent survey of 8,324 mobile phone users across U.S. Cellular's footprint between October 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010. Copyright 2010 The Nielsen Company."

Published April 11, 2011

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