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AT&T Mississippi News

September 04, 2018

AT&T Disaster Response Program Keeps Customers Connected During Hurricane Season

Posted by AT&T Mississippi Team

AT&T* is committed to keeping its customers connected during the upcoming hurricane season. And we’re prepared with a fleet of equipment that can be quickly deployed before, during and after any storm.

“Staying connected during severe weather events is critical,” said Scott Mair, president of Operations, AT&T Technology & Operations. “In the last year alone, we responded to 3 major storms and countless other natural disasters. Our people are experienced, constantly perfecting the process and are ready to respond at a moment’s notice.”

How we prepare our network:

  • Boosting capacity 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 switching facilities.
  • Staging generators in safe locations for immediate deployment once a storm has passed.

Response equipment we use in the wake of an event:

  • Mobile cell sites and mobile command centers, like Cell on Wheels (COWs) and Cell on Light Trucks (COLTs)
  • Emergency Communications Vehicles (ECVs)
  • Flying Cell on Wings (Flying COWs)
  • Drones
  • A self-sufficient base camp. It’s complete with sleeping tents, bathrooms, kitchen, laundry facilities, on-site nurse and meals ready to eat (MREs).
  • Hazmat equipment and supplies
  • Technology and support trailers to provide infrastructure support and mobile heating ventilation and air conditioning
  • Internal and external resources for initial assessment and recovery efforts.

Our team has spent more than 145,000 hours in the field over the last 25 years. AT&T has invested more than $650 million in its Network Disaster Recovery program (NDR), making it one of the nation’s largest and most advanced programs. We’ve proven time and time again that we are ready and prepared to restore and maintain service if disaster strikes.

Plus, we have new deployables to support first responders as part of our public-private partnership to deliver FirstNet’s nationwide public safety broadband network.

As we prepare, so should you.

Consumers and businesses should have a plan in place. When preparing for an evacuation or shelter-in-place, remember the following.

Customer Tips:

  • Save your smartphone’s battery life. In case of a power outage, extend your device’s battery life by putting it in power-save mode, turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, deleting apps or putting your phone in Airplane Mode. This may prevent you from using certain features, but it will ultimately save battery power.
  • Keep your mobile devices charged. Be sure to have another way to charge your smartphone if the power goes out. 
  • Keep your mobile devices dry. Our mobile phones can be a lifeline during a storm. To protect yours, store it in a water-resistant case, floating waterproof case or plastic bag. A car charger or back-up battery pack can come in handy. If you have multiple devices to keep charged, consider a multi-port back-up battery pack.
  • Back up important information and protect vital documents. Back up insurance papers, medical information and the like to the Cloud or your computer. With cloud storage, you can access your data from any connected device.
  • Have a family communications plan. Choose someone out of the area as a central contact, in case your family is separated. Most importantly, practice your emergency plan in advance.
  • Store emergency contacts in your mobile phone. Numbers should include the police department, fire station, hospital and family members.
  • Forward your home number to your mobile number in the event of an evacuation. Because call forwarding is based out of the telephone central office, you will get calls from your landline phone even if your local telephone service is down. If the central office is not operational, services like voicemail and call forwarding may be useful.
  • Track the storm on your mobile device. If you lose power at your home during a storm, you can use your mobile device to access local weather reports.
  • Take advantage of the camera on your smartphone. Be sure to use the camera on your phone to take, store and send photos and video clips of damage to your insurance company.
  • Use location-based technology.  These services can help you find evacuation routes and track a lost family member’s mobile phone.
  • Be prepared for high call volume and keep non-emergency calls to a minimum. If there is severe weather, chances are many people will be trying call at the same time. This may create network congestion. If you get a “fast busy” signal on your wireless phone or a slow dial tone on your landline phone, hang up, wait several seconds and then try again.
  • Try texting vs. calling. Because it requires fewer network resources, text messages may go through more quickly than voice calls.

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