A post on social media has gone viral saying that if you are stranded and have a low battery on your phone to record and update your voicemail so you can be easily found but Washington Police are saying that's not the best advice when you are in danger.

You usually see the tip all over your social media feeds and it generally looks like this:


The tip reads: If you are lost or stranded and your mobile phone is running out of power or has a spotty signal, quickly record a new voicemail greeting. You give the details of where you are stranded and such.

Is It True To Record A New Voicemail If You Are Stranded?

According to the post, your voicemail will still play long after your phone has lost power and can't be turned on.

In theory, this may seem like the way to go but Washington Police and several rescue organizations are saying that the post is giving poor advice and that that there are other ways to get help.

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Why Do Police Say NOT To Record A New Voicemail Greeting While Stranded?

The Skamania County Sheriff's Search and Rescue clarify on a Facebook posting why recording a new voicemail isn't the best course of action and here's why:

Your best course of action is to stay with your vehicle or stay near a road or trail

Here is what the police say to do:

If you have any battery life, send a text message. It only takes a fraction of a second of data reception to get that message out. This has a much better chance to make it through than updating your voice mail.

Why Is The Circulated Post/Meme Poor Advice?

1. Anything using voice on your phone uses up far more battery than texts/SMS. Do not use voice if your battery is running low.
2. A detailed SMS message uses a fraction of the data that a voice message uses, and can transmit using a much weaker signal than a voice call requires. If you have a weak signal, SMS will transmit when voice will not.
3. If you don’t have a signal, you can’t change your VM. Don’t waste your battery attempting this

What Should You Do Instead Of Updating Your Voice Mail When Stranded?

If you have a signal and plenty of battery power, call 911.

Be sure to have your location with GPS coordinates ready but this scenario deals with low battery power and poor signal...here is what the police are saying to do if you are in danger.

1. Turn off WiFi and Bluetooth and put your phone in airplane mode (or turn off cellular) to conserve power.

2. Compose an SMS message to all your trusted contacts. Text only - no images or attachments. Write where you are (as best as you can, bonus points for GPS coordinates!), your condition, and any info needed to locate you. It is FAR easier for a hasty team to locate a vehicle on a road/trail than to locate a person that has gone off into the brush. You can also text 911, but be aware that text 911 is NOT functional in all areas of the country.

3. When you are happy with your detailed SMS message, turn off airplane mode (or turn your cellular back on), send, and cross your fingers that your tiny SMS data packet gets out to us! Outgoing texts will retry for a while if low/no signal, then cancel. Check to make sure your text went out. Moving a little to avoid hills and trees may help.

4. Stay with your vehicle or stay near a road or trail

That's the advice from the experts. As the chill and ice are back in the air, you might find yourself stuck in the coming months so best be prepared for anything. The one thing you don't when trying to survive is bad advice.

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