AT&T Preps for Hurricane Season

With terrible tornadoes in Oklahoma fresh in our minds, AT&T is out with tips for consumers and small businesses that might soon be affected by another type of natural disaster hurricanes.

AT&T says consumers should:

  • keep wireless phone batteries charged;
  • keep their phones dry;
  • have a family communication plan in place;
  • program all emergency contact numbers and email addresses into their cellphones;
  • forward their home number to their wireless number in the event of an evacuation;
  • track the storm and access weather information on their wireless devices;
  • use their device to take photos or record video of property damage;
  • and use location-based mapping technology such as AT&T Navigator and AT&T FamilyMap.

Small-business hurricane tips include:

  • setting up a call-forwarding service to a predetermined backup location;
  • protecting hardware/software/data records/employee records, etc.;
  • outlining detailed plans for evacuation and shelter-in-place plans;
  • assembling a crisis-management team and coordinating efforts with neighboring businesses and building management;
  • and considering a backup cellular network services like AT&T Remote Mobility Zone allow organizations to install small-cell sites at their locations to keep them connected.

AT&T’s response capabilities are part of its Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) program, a system the company created in 1991 to provide the capability to rapidly respond to events that impact our network, including catastrophic acts of nature. Since that time, AT&T has invested more than $600 million in the NDR and activated it more than 20 times, including during the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Hurricane Irene in 2011, and Hurricane Sandy last year.

The NDR arsenal of equipment includes 300 technology and equipment trailers that can be quickly deployed. The Network Disaster Recovery team works closely with other AT&T response teams (e.g., power and wireless), local AT&T network personnel, regional emergency-operations centers and local response centers to restore and maintain service until permanent repairs can be made.

“Communication is critical when severe weather disrupts our day to day routines. That’s why AT&T invests an enormous amount of time and energy in our network reliability and disaster response capabilities,” said Mayo Flynt, president, AT&T Mississippi. “We know people count on their service when bad weather hits, so we work hard to ensure customers can stay connected with friends, family and neighbors by making a phone call, texting or accessing the Internet.”

AT&T standard pre-storm network preparations typically include:

  • adding capacity to the wireless network to accommodate increased call volume;
  • testing the high-capacity backup batteries located at cell sites;
  • staging extended battery life and portable generators and maintaining existing fixed generators;
  • topping off generators with fuel at cell sites and central and field-level switching facilities;
  • using natural gas in some of the permanent generators to eliminate the need to refuel;
  • staging generators in safe locations for their immediate deployment once a storm has passed;
  • and readying response equipment.

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