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Originally posted on CBS Baltimore:

NEW YORK (AP) — When disaster strikes, phone and Internet service often takes a hit, right when it’s needed the most. Here are some tips for communicating with emergency services and loved ones as Sandy collides with the East Coast:

— Cell phones may work even if the power goes out, but you can’t count on them. The phones themselves, of course, have batteries. And the cell towers that relay your calls and other messages are often equipped with backup batteries and some have generators. Verizon says all its sites have at least eight hours of backup power.

But tower batteries run down, and refueling generators with diesel can be difficult if roads are flooded. If hurricane recovery drags on for days, cell service may go out due to a lack of “tower power.” This is what took out the cell phone network in southern Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina in…

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