I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who I work with yesturday morning. She mentioned that she wanted to text me, yet she knew that the mobile phone reception at my house is very bad and I probably would not get it until I came back to work. I told her that texting is the best way to contact me if I am at home, as I will eventually get the message. I went on to explain that in the event of a mass disaster, texting people is a more efficient way to communicate. One of my previous careers involved Contingency Planning and Disaster recovery. Contingency Planning is ensuring organisations had plans in place for any event, from the smallest issue to the largest disaster. One of the aspects we taught to people was that when a disaster occurs the mobile phone networks are usually full of people trying to communicate with their families via phone calls. Because of the high traffic there is a reduced chance that your phone call will get through. Anyone trying to call friends on a mobile during New Years can attest to this. Texts, on the other hand, only require a short amount of connection for the whole message to be received.
A Reuters article, written in May 2012, backs up this message in a more articulate way.
When the bushfires threatened our home earlier this year, Kitty and I turned to Facebook as a way to contact a large group of people (our family and close friends) at one time. This should also be considered as a back-up communication tool. This could be an excellent reason to include a smart phone with Internet accessibility in your preps.