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hiking, wilderness, cell phone, voicemail

A viral post about changing your voicemail greeting when stranded is debunked by rescuers.

Multiple news stories of people being stranded in the wilderness have circulated recently, from the tragic story of a family that died of heat exhaustion and dehydration in the California mountains to the odd story of a lost hiker who refused to answer phone calls from rescuers for 24 hours because they didn't recognize the phone number. And along with those stories has come a wave of viral posts sharing some wise-sounding advice for if you're ever stuck somewhere without cell service and a low battery.

The problem is, the advice isn't wise after all.

The viral post suggests changing your outgoing voicemail message to include your location. One version reads:

"If ever lost while hiking, stranded with a broken-down vehicle or other emergency situation, if your cell phone battery is low here is a tip that can very well save your life. Change your outgoing voicemail on your phone to a message that gives your approximate location, the time, the date, your situation; lost, out of gas, car broken down, injured, etc... plus any special instructions such as; 'You are staying with the car', 'You are walking towards a town' If your cell phone dies, stops working or loses signal your voicemail will still be working. Anyone calling your phone will hear your emergency instructions. They will know you need help and know where to find you or where to send help."

Sounds smart, but a Colorado rescue team has explained why it's not:



The Alpine Rescue Team posted its response to the viral post on Facebook, writing:

"1. Without a signal (connection to the cell system) YOU CAN'T CHANGE YOUR VOICEMAIL. The voicemail system resides with your cell provider. To change your outgoing message, you have to CALL into your voicemail and then navigate the menus, record a new greeting, confirm the new greeting, etc. YOU CANNOT DO THIS WITH NO SIGNAL.

2. If your battery is low do not waste its power by calling your voice mail—or a friend or relative. Call 9-1-1 for help.

3. If you have no signal, text for help to 9-1-1. Many, if not most, 9-1-1 centers can receive a text.

4. Text takes much less power, is far more likely to get through, will automatically retry many times if you have spotty service, leaves record others can see and can give you an indication that it got thru. BTW, because of the automatic retries, you can compose and hit send on a text and then get your phone as high as possible to improve the chances of getting the message out.

5. Stay put. Okay, if you're lost or broken down and you've called for help (assuming you have signal and battery) please stay in one location—UNLESS YOU MUST MOVE FOR SAFETY REASONS. Changing your location makes our job more difficult. Trying to reach someone whose GPS location we have (within a circle, of course) is faster for us than trying to nail down a moving target. STAY PUT.

6. Maximize battery life. In order to make the battery last longer, turn off everything you do not need. Close all apps. Turn off WiFi and Bluetooth. Don't use your cell phone as a GPS/map device and especially do not use the compass if your phone has one -- the compass feature in some phones is a serious battery drain. Pull out your map and compass and/or use a dedicated GPS unit. You may be instructed, by text, to turn your phone off and text back at a specific time. Also, keep your phone just a little warm with some body heat or a handwarmer."

Many people probably think of their voicemail greeting as a recording saved on their phone, but it's not. A fact-check by USA Today, which consulted the top three carriers (Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile), confirmed that cell service or a data connection is needed to change an outgoing voicemail message. You can do it over wi-fi, but that's not helpful if you're stranded on a mountain somewhere. You could change your voicemail greeting before you leave, letting people know where you're going to be adventuring if you feel comfortable with that, but once you're stuck without cell service, there's no changing it.

As always, look for what the actual experts say before passing along a viral social media post, even if the advice it contains sounds smart.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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