cell phones emergency

What to Do with an Extra Cell Phone

After a flood or fire, you may not have access to your cell phone. While it seems like something you always have with you, when a fire or flood hits you may have to leave your home faster than you expected. Your phone could be damaged or left behind during this process. Once you have made sure everyone in your family is safe and away from danger, what do you do if you don’t have the phone numbers and contacts on which you so commonly rely?

A lot of phone companies and fund raisers ask you to recycle your old phones. Did you know that although you purchased and activated a new phone, your old phone doesn’t end up on any kind of “black list.” Many times, you can keep your old cell phone and charger in your car or in an emergency kit. If you end up going to a hotel or even sleeping in your car, you can re-activate your old phone with your carrier and use it just as you used to.

There are some caveats, but not many. Nearly all smart phones coordinate with an online service to store your contacts, so as long as you backup your contacts in some way, you will have access to your work, extended family, and even the number for that pizza delivery place you love so much. Non-smart phone devices or phones that are without a sim card can present more problems, but as smartphones become the standard-bearer in the industry, this happens less and less.

What you will need to do is make sure you can charge your old phone. Over time, a fully-charged phone will lose its charge. You can keep a charger with the phone or use your car charger to re-power the battery. If your old phone is really old, you may need to purchase a new battery for it (batteries for older models of cell phones are rather affordable). Check with your carrier on how to re-activate your old phone, and print the instructions on how to do so to keep with your phone.

It may take 10 minutes to get this phone up and running, but having a working cell phone after a fire or flood destroys your home is tremendously valuable. Instead of recycling your phone, turn it into an emergency backup that you can have with you just in case. Keeping this old phone in a car also comes in handy when your kids drop your new phone into the pool on vacation.


Henry Duckstein Jr.


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