As Hurricane Idalia Approaches, AT&T Prepares Network, Offers Tips to Help You Stay Connected
Orlando, Fla., August 28, 2023
- AT&T* is ready for Hurricane Idalia with an arsenal of disaster response equipment and personnel on standby.
- The AT&T Weather Operations Center has a team of degreed meteorologists delivering business-specific weather intelligence, analytics, and forecasts.
- The FirstNet Response Operations Group (ROG)™ – led by a dedicated team of former first responders – is working around the clock to support public safety’s emergency communications and has liaisons engaged with local and federal agencies.
AT&T* has initiated its storm preparedness plan as Hurricane Idalia tracks toward Florida. The AT&T Weather Operations Center has a team of degreed meteorologists delivering business-specific weather intelligence, analytics and forecasts. Their expertise aids in mitigating the risk of impact to the AT&T network and assets, and helps to keep our employees safe.
Our network preparations include:
- Topping off generators with fuel.
- Testing high-capacity back-up batteries at cell sites.
- Protecting physical facilities against flooding.
- Staging other emergency response and network recovery equipment in strategic locations for quick deployment following the storm.
- Staging dedicated FirstNet® deployable communications solutions for use by public safety agencies on FirstNet to request as needed.
“Customers rely on us, especially during major storms,” said Joe York, president, AT&T Gulf States. That's why we practice readiness drills and simulations throughout the year. And 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 and are ready to respond if needed. We’re also closely linked with Florida public officials in their storm response efforts.”
We encourage our customers and residents in areas potentially affected by the storm to prepare as well. Below are communication tips to help you stay connected.
- 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 will ultimately save battery power.
- Keep your mobile devices charged. Be sure to have another way to charge your smartphone if the power goes out.
- 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. A car charger or back-up battery pack can come in handy. If you have multiple devices to keep charged, consider a multi-port or back-up battery pack.
- 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.
FirstNet Response Operations Group (ROG)™ – led by a dedicated team of former first responders – is working around the clock to support public safety’s emergency communications and has liaisons engaged with local and federal agencies.
In addition, AT&T’s Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) program is one of the largest in the country. Our NDR fleet consists of more than 15,500 portable generators, 400+ communications solutions, over 2,000 pieces of logistical support equipment including fuel trailers, and amphibious vehicles that can be quickly deployed to support public safety and our customers, including:
- Mobile cell sites and mobile command centers like COWs (Cell on Wheels), SatCOLTs (Satellite Cell on Light Trucks), CRDs (Compact Rapid Deployables) and ECVs (Emergency Communications Vehicles)
- Flying COWs® (Cell on Wings)
- Drones for assessing cell site damage
- A self-sufficient basecamp with sleeping trailers, bathrooms, kitchen, on-site nurse, meals ready-to-eat (MREs), and more
- 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