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AT&T Prepares for Hurricane Season with Disaster Response Exercise and Hazmat Drill in Houston

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Flying COW (Cell on Wings) and Technology Recovery Equipment Assembled as a Demonstration in Houston, Hazmat Drill with Houston Fire Department at AT&T Network Facility

AT&T* knows reliable, constant communication is critical during a disaster. That’s why its Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) organization is holding a technology recovery exercise in Houston and a hazmat drill with the Houston Fire Department. We’re practicing now, so we’re prepared to keep our customers connected when disaster strikes. 

We’ll display our newest Flying COW (Cell on Wings) for the first time in Houston. The helicopter Flying COW has a 7.5-foot diameter rotor and 2 cellular antennas on board. The purpose of the drone is to beam LTE coverage from the drone to a designated area on the ground.

We are developing this Flying COW so that in the future, it could be used by our NDR team to provide coverage for first responders and customers if our network is damaged during a disaster. It could be used in areas where damaged or flooded roadways would prevent a traditional COW from being deployed.

The Flying COW can be deployed and moved quickly to accommodate rapidly changing conditions, such as following a quickly moving wildfire line.

In total, the NDR team is deploying 20 pieces of network recovery and support equipment in Houston. Employees will practice turning up equipment to restore network service as if there were a real-life disaster. This includes:

  • Six technology recovery trailers (53-foot semi-tractor trailers capable of restoring an entire core network building).
  • A Satellite COLT (Cell on Light Truck) - Portable cell site that links to the AT&T network via satellite if wired communications are damaged or unavailable.
  • A mobile command center and an Emergency Communications Vehicle.
  • Search Dogs – AT&T works with the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation and search dogs will be on-site demonstrating search and recovery skills.

We’ll be increasing our NDR fleet with new deployables to support the nationwide public safety broadband network we’re building with FirstNet. Once available, the additional deployables will help first responders stay connected during emergencies and operate faster, safer and more effectively when lives are on the line. The deployables featured at this exercise will showcase a sampling of the dedicated technologies that first responders will have access to should their state opt-in to the FirstNet network. 

The hazmat drill will take place at a nearby AT&T facility. The AT&T hazmat team will work with the Houston Fire Department to conduct hazardous materials training drills. During the drill, team members will work together to practice damage assessments and check environmental conditions in the generator room and cable vault. The team will be wearing Level A and Level B protective equipment for the drills.

“This joint drill will help enhance the department’s operational and hazardous materials response readiness,” said Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Peña. “We always appreciate the opportunity for unified training with private industries."

In its two decades of service, the team has been deployed more than 75 times – including recent deployments for flood response in Baton Rouge and for Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The NDR team deployed on September 11, 2001, following the New York City World Trade Center disaster – recovering the services of a destroyed network office and providing emergency communications support for humanitarian efforts.

This will be the NDR team’s third full technical exercise in the Houston metropolitan area and its sixth full exercise in Texas. For more information, visit the Network Disaster Recovery page.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, business, mobile and high speed internet services. We offer the nation’s best data network* and the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider.** We’re one of the world’s largest providers of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. Nearly 3.5 million companies, from small to large businesses around the globe, turn to AT&T for our highly secure smart solutions. 

Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at about.att.com. Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at facebook.com/att and YouTube at youtube.com/att.

© 2017 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

*Claim based on the Nielsen Certified Data Network Score. Score includes data reported by wireless consumers in the Nielsen Mobile Insights survey, network measurements from Nielsen Mobile Performance and Nielsen Drive Test Benchmarks for Q3+Q4 2016 across 121 markets.

**Global coverage claim based on offering discounted voice and data roaming; LTE roaming; and voice roaming in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier. International service required. Coverage not available in all areas. Coverage may vary per country and be limited/restricted in some countries.

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