AT&T Ready for Tropical Storm Bonnie

With current weather reports showing Tropical Storm Bonnie headed for the upper Texas gulf coast, AT&T today announced that it is prepared to respond quickly with an arsenal of disaster response equipment and personnel, enabling a quick response post landfall. To help customers and businesses in the path of the storm prepare, AT&T is also providing important communications tips for use before, during and after a storm.

“The Texas coast has been tested by inclement weather and hurricanes in the past and AT&T has always been quick to respond and restore service to impacted communities,” said Chris Penrose, vice president and general manager for AT&T in South Texas. “Our customers rely on us to be prepared and keep them connected during emergencies, and we are committed to fulfilling those needs.”

AT&T’s Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) capabilities are the industry’s largest and most advanced with unmatched resources to help ensure the flow of both wireless and wired communications during times of need. AT&T has invested more than $500 million in its NDR capabilities since the formation of its NDR.  AT&T’s NDR resources include more than 300 technology and equipment trailers that can be quickly distributed anywhere in the U.S. or worldwide to respond to disaster situations such as severe hurricanes. AT&T invested $145 million in recovery and restoration efforts related to the 2008 hurricanes.

AT&T has continued to enhance network redundancy in hurricane-prone areas, which includes the installation of more back-up and permanent generators at critical cell sites and switching facilities, location of critical equipment to less vulnerable areas, upgrade of electronics in many locations, replacement of copper wiring with fiber optic cable, elevation of switches critical to network operations above expected flood levels, and protection of physical facilities against flooding.

A critical element of AT&T’s efforts to maximize network reliability is its ability to swiftly respond when disaster strikes. AT&T’s Global Network Operations Center, the state-of-the-art command center, monitors and maintains its global networks 24/7 and conducts readiness drills and disaster simulations throughout the year to ensure that the networks and personnel are ready to respond in a moment’s notice. The NDR team works closely with local AT&T network personnel and Emergency Operations Centers (EOC’s) to restore and maintain service until permanent repairs can be made.

AT&T’s standard pre-storm network preparations include:

  • Adding capacity to the wireless network to accommodate increased call volume.
  • Testing the high-capacity backup batteries located at every cell site.
  • Distributing 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.


Response equipment readied in the wake of a storm:

  • 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 more than 10,000 meals ready to eat (MREs), plus more
  • Hazmat equipment and supplies
  • Equipment-trailers to provide infrastructure support and mobile heating ventilation and air conditioning
  • Internal and external resources for initial assessment and recovery efforts


“Staying in touch during a disaster is critical,” said state Rep. Mike Hamilton, vice chairman of the Select Committee for Emergency Preparedness. “Businesses and consumers alike should have a plan in place, and that includes making the best use of available communications tools.”

AT&T offers the following recommendations for consumers and small business owners in preparation for this year’s hurricane season.

 

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