AT&T offers hurricane and severe weather tips as they prepare their network
Hurricane season is weeks away. Last year, the Atlantic hurricane season produced 21 named storms, including 7 hurricanes, four of which were major hurricanes.
Let's start Hurricane Season with some preparedness tips we all should follow.
Severe Weather Tips:
Keep your mobile devices charged. Be sure to have another way to charge your smartphone if the power goes out. A car charger or back-up battery pack can come in handy. If you have multiple devices to keep charged, consider a multi-port back-up battery pack.
Save your smartphone’s battery life. In case of a power outage, extend your device’s battery life by putting it in power-save mode, turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, deleting apps, or putting your phone in Airplane Mode. This may prevent you from using certain features, but it- will ultimately save battery power.
Keep your mobile devices dry. Mobile phones can be a critical lifeline during a storm. To protect yours, store it in a water-resistant case, floating-waterproof case or plastic bag.
Back up important information and protect vital documents. Back up insurance papers, medical information and the like to the Cloud or your computer. With cloud storage, you can access your data from any connected device.
Have a family communications plan. Choose someone out of the area as a central contact in case your family is separated.
Most importantly, practice your emergency plan in advance.
Store emergency contacts in your mobile phone. Numbers should include the police department, fire station, hospital, and family members.
Forward your home number to your mobile number in the event of an evacuation. Because call forwarding is based out of the telephone central office, you will get calls from your landline phone even if your local telephone service is down. If the central office is not operational, services like voicemail and call forwarding may be useful.
Track the storm on your mobile device. If you lose power at your home during a storm, you can use your mobile device to access local weather reports.
Take advantage of the camera on your smartphone. Be sure to use the camera on your phone to take, store and send photos and video clips of damage to your insurance company.
Use location-based technology. These services can help you find evacuation routes and track a lost family member’s mobile phone.
Be prepared for high call volume and keep non-emergency calls to a minimum. If there is severe weather, chances are many people will be attempting to place calls at the same time. The increased calling volume may create network congestion. If you get a “fast busy” signal on your wireless phone or a slow dial tone on your landline phone, hang up, wait several seconds, and then try again.
Try texting vs. calling. Because it requires fewer network resources, text messages may go through more quickly than voice calls.
AT&T is also committed to keeping its customers and FirstNet® subscribers connected during the upcoming hurricane season. With nearly 30 years of experience responding to large-scale events, we’ve proven time and time again that we are ready and prepared to restore and maintain service if disaster strikes.
We’re prepared with a fleet of equipment that can be quickly deployed before, during and after any storm. Plus, public safety agencies on FirstNet – the only network built with and for America’s first responders also have 24/7 access to a dedicated nationwide fleet of thousands of deployable network assets, helping them connect to the critical information they need.
“Keeping people in Georgia connected when severe weather hits is at the heart of what we do at AT&T,” said Celeste Boyd-Spear, Vice President and General Manager, AT&T Southeast States. “We know people count on their service in an emergency. That’s why AT&T has made significant investments in Georgia, and why we work so hard to help ensure that customers can stay connected with friends, family and first responders when it’s needed the most.”
“Staying connected during severe weather events is critical,” said Chris Sambar, executive vice president, AT&T Technology & Operations.” In the last few years alone, we have responded to countless major storms and other natural disasters. Our people are experienced, constantly perfecting the process and are ready to respond at a moment’s notice. And with FirstNet, where public safety goes, we go – helping ensure first responders have the reliable communications they need to effectively coordinate and communicate their disaster response.”
How we prepare:
Boosting network capacity 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 fixed generators.
Topping off generators with fuel at cell sites and switching facilities.
Staging additional generators in safe locations for immediate deployment once a storm has passed.
Embedding FirstNet liaisons from AT&T in state and federal emergency operations centers to help ensure first responders have the mobile connectivity and devices they need.
Response equipment we use in the wake of an event:
Mobile cell sites and mobile command centers, like Cell on Wheels (COWs) and Cell on Light Trucks (COLTs)
Emergency Communications Vehicles (ECVs)
Flying Cell on Wings (Flying COWs)
Drones for assessing cell site damage
A self-sufficient base camp: It’s complete with sleeping bunks, bathrooms, kitchen, laundry facilities, an 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.
Our team has spent more than 150,000 hours in the field over the last 25 years. We have invested more than $650 million in our Network Disaster Recovery program (NDR), making it one of the nation’s largest and most advanced.
Making Public Safety the Priority with FirstNet
We know how critical communications are to rescue and recovery efforts. That’s why we partnered with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government – to deliver the FirstNet network to public safety. FirstNet, built with AT&T, which now covers more first responders than any other network in the country, gives first responders the unthrottled connectivity they need, no matter the emergency:
Priority & Preemption: In emergencies and disasters, commercial networks can quickly become congested. That’s why FirstNet is the only nationwide network that gives first responders always-on priority and preemption. It puts them at the front of the “communications line,” protecting them from commercial network congestion.
Greater Command & Control: Public safety agencies have access to a fleet of 150 dedicated mobile cell sites that link to FirstNet via satellite and do not rely on commercial power availability. Last year, FirstNet Response Operations deployed 800+ solutions to further support public safety agencies’ emergency response needs. And, to give first responders greater command and control of their network, the FirstNet Response Operations Program aligns with the National Incident Management System to better guide the deployment of these assets.
Enhanced Coverage and Capacity: We’ve also deployed public safety’s Band 14 spectrum nationwide. This includes every major city coast-to-coast, rural towns and tribal areas. Band 14 is nationwide, high-quality spectrum set aside by the U.S. government specifically for FirstNet. It provides public safety with truly dedicated coverage and capacity when they need it. That means only those on FirstNet will be able to access that spectrum, further elevating their connected experience and emergency response.
To learn more about the value FirstNet is bringing to public safety, check out FirstNet.com.