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AT&T PREPARED TO KEEP CUSTOMERS CONNECTED DURING
Disaster response program, certified by Homeland Security, designed to keep
Salisbury, MD – June 4, 2014 – AT&T is committed to providing its customers reliable
communications during the upcoming hurricane season - before, during and after storms - and
has one of the industry’s largest and most advanced disaster response programs to keep its
Despite predictions, we never know when the next tropical storm or hurricane will hit the
coastline. With $600 million invested in the Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) program, AT&T’s
arsenal of equipment includes more than 320 technology and equipment trailers that can be
quickly deployed, making it one of the nation’s largest and most advanced disaster programs.
―Staying connected during severe weather events is critically important to consumers,
businesses and our emergency management officials,‖ said J. Michael Schweder, president of
AT&T Mid-Atlantic. ―That’s why AT&T invests a tremendous amount of resources in our network
reliability and disaster response capabilities.‖
The NDR team works closely with other AT&T response teams, local AT&T network personnel,
regional Emergency Operations Centers and Local Response Centers to fortify network facilities
and equipment, and stage technicians and resources near the storm impact area. In the event
of damage, teams are poised to restore and maintain service until permanent repairs can be
made. AT&T’s NDR program is the first private company certified by the Department of
Homeland Security for private-company voluntary disaster preparedness.
AT&T also conducts readiness drills and simulations throughout the year to ensure our networks
are prepared and our personnel are ready to respond at a moment’s notice. NDR will complete
its 74th full-field recovery exercise this year. Since its inception in 1991, the NDR has
responded to more than 20 catastrophes across the U.S. Additionally, the AT&T Global Network
Operations Center monitors our networks 24/7.
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
Topping off generators with fuel at cell sites and central and field-level switching
Using natural gas in some of the permanent generators to eliminate the need to
Staging generators in safe locations for their immediate deployment once a storm
Response equipment readied in the wake of an event includes:
Mobile cell sites and mobile command centers
Emergency communications vehicles
A self-sufficient base camp, 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.
As we prepare, so should you.
Consumers and businesses also should have a plan in place. When preparing for an evacuation
or shelter-in-place, remember these following tips.
Keep your wireless phone batteries charged at all times. In case of a power outage,
have alternate means of charging your phone available, such as an extra battery, car
charger or device-charging accessory. Sales tax holidays are a great time to stock up on
cell phone accessories for your household.
Keep your wireless phone dry. The biggest threat to your device during a hurricane is
water, so keep your equipment safe from the elements by storing it in a baggie or some
other type of protective covering, such as an Otterbox phone cover.
Have a family communication plan in place. Designate someone out of the area as a
central contact, and make certain that all family members know who to contact if they get
separated. Most importantly, practice your emergency plan in advance.
Program all of your emergency contact numbers and e-mail addresses into your
mobile phone. Numbers should include the police department, fire station and hospital,
as well as your family members.
Forward your home number to your wireless number in the event of an
evacuation. Because call forwarding is based out of the telephone central office, you
will get incoming calls from your landline phone even if your local telephone service is
disrupted at your home. In the unlikely event that the central office is not operational,
services such as Voicemail, Call Forwarding, Remote Access call forwarding and call
forwarding busy line/don’t answer may be useful.
Track the storm and access weather information on your wireless device. Many
homes lose power during severe weather. If you have a working wireless device that
provides access to the Internet, you can watch weather reports through services like
AT&T U-verse Live TV or keep updated with local radar and severe weather alerts
Weather, if you subscribe to those services.
Camera phones provide assistance. If you have a camera phone, take, store and
send photos — even video clips — of damaged property to your insurance company
from your device.
Take advantage of location-based mapping technology. Services such as AT&T
Navigator and AT&T FamilyMap can help you seek evacuation routes or avoid traffic
congestion from downed trees or power lines, as well as track a family member’s
wireless device in case you get separated.
Small Business Tips:
Set up a call-forwarding service to a predetermined backup location. Set up a
single or multiple hotline number(s) for employees, employees’ families, customers and
partners, as appropriate, to call so that all parties know about the business situation and
Back up data to the Cloud. Routinely back up files to an off-site location. Services such
as Mobile Workplace are a suggested solution for small businesses.
Outline detailed plans for evacuation and shelter-in-place plans. Practice these
plans (employee training, etc.). Establish a backup location for your business and
meeting place for all employees.
Assemble a crisis-management team and coordinate efforts with neighboring
businesses and building management. Be aware that disasters affecting your
suppliers also affect your business. Outline a plan for supply chain continuity for
Consider a back-up cellular network. Services like AT&T Remote Mobility Zone,
allows organizations to protect their critical communications by installing small cell sites
at the businesses’ locations. If a disaster disables primary communications networks,
the back-up cellular network can help keep your company connected.
Keeping the lines open for emergencies
During evacuations, the storm event and its aftermath, network resources will likely be taxed. To
help ensure that emergency personnel have open lines, keep these tips in mind:
Text messaging. During an emergency situation, text messages may go through more
quickly than voice calls because they require fewer network resources. All of AT&T’s
wireless devices are text messaging capable. Depending on your text or data plan,
additional charges may apply.
Be prepared for high call volume. During an emergency, many people are trying to
use their phones at the same time. The increased calling volume may create network
congestion, leading to ―fast busy‖ signals on your wireless phone or a slow dial tone on
your landline phone. If this happens, hang up, wait several seconds and then try the call
again. This allows your original call data to clear the network before you try again.
Keep non-emergency calls to a minimum, and limit your calls to the most important
ones. If there is severe weather, chances are many people will be attempting to place
calls to loved ones, friends and business associates.
Additional information and tips for disaster preparedness can be found at
Find More Information Online:
Web Site Links: Related Media Kits:
AT&T Web Site
AT&T Network Disaster Recovery
AT&T Business Continuity for Enterprise
Economist Intelligence Unit Survey
AT&T Vital Connections
Related Releases: Related Fact Sheets:
AT&T Remote Mobility Zone Aids Critical
Communications in Emergency and Disaster
Hurricane Preparation Tips
Take the preparedness quiz.
Print the preparedness quiz.
Emergency Communications Planning Tips Emergency Tool
Implementing a Holistic Business Continuity and Recovery
Network Disaster Recovery
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