1 Apr 2009

American Samoa officials revisit emergency plans

8:58 am on 1 April 2009

The failure of many cell phones during a tsunami warning in American Samoa two weeks ago has prompted emergency officials to revisit older communications plans and to explore new ones.

Special radio frequencies have long been reserved strictly for emergency use and the plan is to make more use of these.

To help cell phone users, special software will be tested to increase system capacity.

Carl Sene of the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority says new ways will be tried.

"Also the Federal government has given us several frequencies call UTEX and BTEX, which are operable systems for the different responder agencies can get on there to talk to each other so we can program these radios for these channels and then you can also get it to shared frequencies with the other agencies."

Carl Sene says the radio frequencies can be implemented immediately, while the cell phone software will take about two months.