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BETHESDA, Md., May 22 /PRNewswire/ -- To coincide with the start of this year's hurricane season, Iridium® Satellite kicks off its second annual "Test Your Satellite Phone" Week beginning May 25, 2008. Since its inception in 2007, thousands of emergency workers and first responders have taken the time to ensure that their one certain lifeline in a disaster, their satellite phone, actually works.
The goal of "Test Your Satellite Phone" Week is to increase satellite phone user preparedness and to help users confirm their satellite phones are ready to provide critical communications services before they're needed in an emergency. It is imperative for those with access to satellite phones to test their phones to ensure operability. This is not only an important safety precaution for emergency responders and government officials, but also for businesses, educational institutions and medical facilities. This has become increasingly crucial as some non-Iridium mobile satellite phone users have seen a drop in reliability and connection rates. Independent testing has verified that Iridium's first-time connection rate is better than 99 percent. This year, organizations such as The American Red Cross and ProtectingAmerica.org have joined Iridium in observing "Test Your Satellite Phone" Week.
"As a customer of Global Satellite USA (http://www.globalsatellite.us/), an Iridium Service Provider, it's been helpful to be reminded to test our phones and ensure that our people know how to use them," said Jerry Graziose, director, safety department, Broward County Public Schools in Florida. "Being responsible for so many children in this hurricane-prone state, we do everything we can to be prepared for any emergency. Knowing that our phones will work gives us an extra level of security."
The "Test Your Satellite Phone" Week campaign asks all satellite phone owners to call a special number - 00-1-480-752-5105 - to test their satellite phones. Callers will hear a recorded message confirming that their call was completed and offering quick tips on proper handset usage. Iridium customers are not charged for air time on their satellite phone when calling this number. Other satellite phone services may charge usage fees if they are not participating in the program. If customers find that their phones are not operational through this process, they should call their service provider for trouble-shooting.
"I hope that all first responders take the time now to test their satellite phones," said James Lee Witt, ProtectingAmerica.org national co-chair and former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director. "The last thing a first responder should be worrying about during a disaster is whether their phone connects and if they know how to use it properly."
"As more and more first responders and commanders turn to satellite phones as their primary or backup emergency communications tool, we want to make sure the users are trained and the phones are ready to go before they need to use them," said Matt Desch, chairman and CEO, Iridium Satellite. "No one knows when the next disaster will strike, but Iridium encourages all satellite phone users to take the important step of testing their phones regularly."
"Test Your Satellite Phone" Week information can be found at http://www.iridium.com/. Tips and techniques available for satellite phone use and testing are included, such as:
-- Test your phone on a monthly basis. -- Keep your phone's battery charged to ensure that it is ready for use when needed. -- For maximum battery performance, allow the battery to discharge completely before fully re-charging. -- Check to make sure that the phone's SIM card is locked in place. Users can check this by removing the battery and ensuring that the SIM card tray is securely positioned. -- Use the phone outside with a clear view of the sky and the horizon. -- Turn the phone on and ensure that the antenna is extended and rotated upward. -- The dialing sequence is very similar to dialing an international phone call. Dial 00, the country code, and then the phone number, or press the 0 key until a "+" appears, dial the country code, and then the phone number. To test your Iridium satellite phone, call 00-1-480-752-5105. -- To hang up a call, press the red "C" button. About Iridium Satellite