AT&T has one of the communications industry's biggest, most cutting-edge business and continuity disaster-response programs, which aims to ensure its customers stay connected during hurricane season, which began on Monday.
The company invested more than $600 million in its Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) program and has over 300 trailers filled with technology and equipment that can be dispatched at a moment's notice, making the program one of the nation's largest.
"Staying connected during severe weather events is critically important to consumers, businesses and our emergency-management officials," Pamela Lackey, president of AT&T South Carolina, said. "That's why AT&T is investing a tremendous amount of resources in our network reliability and disaster-response capabilities."
AT&T's pre-storm network preparations generally include enhancing wireless networks to allow for heavier call volume, testing back-up batteries at cell towers, staging portable generators, topping off generators with fuel and using natural gas in some permanent generators.
Steps to prepare response equipment include setting up mobile cell towers and command centers, preparing emergency communications vehicles, setting up a self-sufficient base camp, gathering hazardous-materials (haz mat) supplies, readying technology and support trailers, and readying internal and external resources for assessment and recovery efforts.
AT&T officials encourage consumers to have their own disaster plans in place. Tips from the company include keeping mobile phones charged, keeping mobile devices dry, having a family
communication plan, programming emergency contact numbers and email addresses into cell phones, tracking storm information on mobile devices and using location-based technology.