AT&T Preps for Hurricane, Offers Business Tips

AT&T reported that its ready for Hurricane Irma with “response equipment and personnel on standby,” according to a recent release.

The company says its closely monitoring the storm, which is expected to hit Florida in the next few days. Ensuring fuel generators are full, protecting facilities against flooding and testing high-capacity back-up batteries at cell sites are just some of the actions the company is taking to prepare.

“AT&T has also staged other emergency response equipment in strategic locations,” according to the release. “Its national reliability center is monitoring outages for quick action.”

The company also enhanced the network redundancy in areas that are most likely to be hit. Plus, workers have installed generators at critical cell towers and switching facilities, as they serve both commercial and residential clients.

“Customers rely on us, especially during major storms,” said Joe York, AT&T Florida president. “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. We’ve worked for the past few days to position equipment and crews to respond to the storm. We’re closely linked with Florida public officials in their storm response efforts. With a storm of this size, we may have some outages. But if service goes down, we’ll do all we can to get it back up as fast as possible.”

The AT&T National Disaster Recovery (NDR) program is reportedly one of the most innovative and the one of the largest. It boasts hundreds of technology recovery and support trailers that can be sent to the site of a disaster.

According to the release, the company is “increasing our NDR fleet with new deployables to support first responders as part of our public-private partnership to deliver FirstNet’s nationwide public safety broadband network.” according to the release. “AT&T will

The company reportedly has more than 700 pieces of equipment ready to go and is looking to deploy Flying COWs (Cell on Wings) in order to offer emergency cell coverage for first responders and the public.

AT&T provided the following tips for businesses as they ready for the storm:

  • 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.
  • Backup data to the Cloud. Routinely back up files to an off-site location. Tools like AT&T Enterprise Recovery Services are cost-efficient and help ensure your important data is there when you need it.
  • 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 backup cellular network. Services like AT&T Remote Mobility Zone protect critical communications for businesses. If a disaster disables primary communications networks, the backup cellular network can help you stay connected.

The company also provided the following suggestions for evacuations to ensure that emergency personnel can access an open line:

  • 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.

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