AT&T preps Florida networks as Hurricane Matthew nears the Florida coast
Via AT&T News Room
Oct 5, 2016
Company Encourages Customers to Prepare, Offers Communication Tips
Hurricane Matthew is currently tracking toward the Florida east coast and AT&T* is ready with our disaster response equipment and personnel on standby.
We’re currently topping off generators at our cell sites with fuel. The sites are equipped with high-capacity back-up batteries. We have staged emergency response equipment in strategic locations, if needed. Our national reliability center is monitoring outages for quick action.
We’ve also improved the network redundancy in storm-prone areas. AT&T installed more generators at critical cell towers and switching facilities, and moved electronics key to network operations above expected flood levels.
“Customers rely on us, especially during major storms,” said Joe York, president, AT&T Florida. "That's why we practice readiness drills and simulations throughout the year. We do all we can to have our networks prepared when severe weather strikes.”
The AT&T National Disaster Recovery (NDR) program, with more than 320 technology and equipment trailers, is one of the industry’s largest and most advanced disaster response programs. The NDR team keeps service going until local AT&T network personnel, regional emergency operations centers and local response centers make permanent repairs.
Just as we prepare our networks and personnel, AT&T encourages customers to consider the following recommendations in the wake of the storm.
- Keep your mobile phone battery charged. In case of a power outage, have another way to charge your phone like an extra battery, car charger or device-charging accessory. Sales tax holidays are a great time to stock up on cell phone accessories.
- Consider getting an emergency phone. For example, the SpareOne Emergency Phone features a flashlight, glow-in-the-dark keypad, a panic siren and a SOS signal built into the phone. It also includes a Locate & Alert service. You can send your location to up to 5 people in an emergency.
- Keep your mobile devices dry. The biggest threat to your device during a hurricane is water. Keep it safe from the elements by storing it in a baggie or some other type of protective covering. Consider an Otterbox phone cover.
- Have a family communications plan. Choose someone out of the area as a central contact. If separated, that is the person family members should contact. 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 mobile number in the event of an evacuation. Call forwarding goes out from the telephone central office. This means you will get calls from your landline phone, even if your local telephone service is down. If the central office is not operational, services such as voicemail and call forwarding may be useful.
- Track the storm and access weather information on your mobile device. Many homes lose power during severe weather. If you have a working mobile device with Internet access, you can watch weather reports through services like AT&T U-verse Live TV . You can also or stay updated with local radar and severe weather alerts through My-Cast® Weather, if you subscribe to those services.
- Camera phones provide assistance. If you have a camera phone, take, store and send photos and video clips of damage to your insurance company.
- Use location-based technology. Avoid traffic from downed trees, find evacuation routes, and locate a family member’s wireless device with services like AT&T Navigator and AT&T FamilyMap.
- Limit social media activity. Keep social media activity to a minimum during and after a storm to limit network congestion and allow for emergency communications to go through.
Small Business Tips:
- Set up a call-forwarding service to a backup location. Set up a single or multiple hotline number(s) for employees, their families, customers and partners so they all know about the business situation and emergency plan.
- Back up data to the Cloud. Routinely back up files to an off-site location. Services such as Mobile Workplace are great for small businesses.
Outline detailed plans for evacuation and shelter-in-place. Practice these plans (employee training, etc.). Establish a backup location for your business and meeting place for all employees.
Assemble a crisis-management team. Coordinate efforts with neighboring businesses and building management. Disasters that affect your suppliers also affect your business. Outline a plan for supply chain continuity for business needs.
- Consider a back-up cellular network. Services like AT&T Remote Mobility Zone protect critical communications for businesses. If a disaster disables primary communications networks, the back-up cellular network can help you stay connected.
Keeping the lines open for emergencies
Evacuations, the storm event, and aftermath tax network resources. These tips help keep lines open for emergency personnel:
- 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 wireless devices are text 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. This may congest the network, 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 . Limit your calls to the most important ones. Chances are many people will try to calls to loved ones, friends and business associates.
For additional information and tips for disaster preparedness visit www.att.com/vitalconnections.