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What To Really Do If Your Phone Battery Is Low, Your Signal Is Weak, And You Are Stranded

Recently a post went viral on Facebook, and at first, it sounded like great advice.

It said if you are without service, or your battery is going low that you should change your voicemail to notify people of your last location and where you were headed.

After talking to friends and really thinking about it, we wondered how you would update your voicemail message with no service, as well as wondered how much more battery that would eat up.

Thankfully I came across another Facebook post from Skamania County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue that addressed these concerns and had better tips.

Recently a Facebook post has gone viral telling people to “update their voice mail” if their battery is going low. This is not the best advice, and will likely not work. We would like to ask that you not follow this advice, clarify why this is bad advice, and suggest better options

Skamania County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue – Facebook

The first advice was to stay with your vehicle or stay near a road or trail so that you are easier to locate.

Skamania County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue – Facebook

Second, if you have battery life left on your phone, don’t waste it trying to change a voicemail message, instead, send a text message out to your closest contacts at one time.

Here’s What To Really Do

A text message only needs a second of data reception and you will have a better chance of that message actually getting out to people.

  • Compose an SMS message to all of your trusted contacts at one time.
  • Text only, no images or attachments.
  • Write where you are as best as you can, if you know the GPS coordinates, send them!

If you don’t have a strong enough reception signal, you will not be able to change your voicemail and it will also use much more of your phone’s remaining battery power.

Another great point they made was if you do have a signal and a bit of battery, why not use it to call 911 instead?

Before calling 911 prepare your information so that you don’t have to waste time on the call, let them know your location immediately in case the battery dies.

You can also text 911, but beware that the 911 text function isn’t available everywhere.

The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue also pointed out that you should always notify someone of what your plans are, times and locations of where you are headed, and when.

This information makes much more sense than the viral post on changing your voicemail message.

Use your battery life and cell service signal wisely and make good choices!