Disaster Response | AT&T, Verizon Prepare for Hurricane Hilary

Disaster Response | AT&T, Verizon Prepare for Hurricane Hilary

AT&T is ready for Hurricane Hilary with an arsenal of disaster response equipment and personnel on standby.

AT&T is closely monitoring and preparing for Hurricane Hilary. The AT&T Weather Operations Center has a team of degreed meteorologists delivering business-specific weather intelligence, analytics and forecasts. Their expertise helps mitigates our risk of impact to the AT&T network and assets along with helping keep our employees safe.

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The storm is expected to impact Southern California over the weekend. Our preparation includes:

Topping off fuel generators.

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 network assets for use by public safety agencies on FirstNet to request as needed.

As we have in the past, we have installed more generators at critical cell towers and switching facilities, and moved electronics essential to network operations above expected flood levels.

Additionally, our Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) team is on standby and prepared to deploy assets if needed. And 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.

“Customers rely on us, especially during major storms,” said Marc Blakeman, President, AT&T California. “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 California public officials in their storm response efforts.”

The AT&T NDR program is one of the industry’s largest and most advanced disaster response programs. its fleet includes 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.

Response equipment readied in the wake of an event includes:

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 COW® (Flying Cell on Wings)
Drones for assessing cell site damage
A self-sufficient base camp: This is 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

Verizon is ready for Hurricane Hilary

With Hurricane Hilary expected to make landfall in Southern California this weekend, Verizon’s team is working to ensure its people and assets are ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice to assist with rapid recovery efforts of critical communications infrastructure.

With the expectation of record rainfall and possible flooding from the storm, Verizon’s network team is preparing for the worst. While the use of battery and generator backup systems in critical locations such as cell sites and network operations centers serve to minimize the risk of disruption if commercial power is lost, even the most hardened infrastructure can be shaken by Mother Nature.

In case emergency network recovery becomes necessary after Hurricane Hilary makes landfall, Verizon is prepared to respond quickly. Verizon has readied its fleet of portable assets, including fully functional, generator-powered cell sites that can replace or enhance network coverage and capacity in a given area as well as drones and a fixed wing aircraft that can provide service and situational awareness from the sky above.

Additionally, Verizon has pre-staged satellite-based portable network assets that can provide an alternate way to connect cell sites to the rest of the network in the event that a fiber cable is lost due to commercial power outages or physical damage. All of these mobile assets are complemented by portable generators and a comprehensive refueling program ready to keep the network running in case of commercial power outages.

Are you ready for the storm?

Verizon’s retail team stands ready to assist customers and ensure they have the right devices, accessories and connectivity they’ll need to weather the storm. And convenient options like locker, curbside and in store pickup provide quick ways to get what you need and get out.

In addition to the right tech, you’ll also want to take steps to ensure your family is prepared for the season as well. When a storm is forecast:

Keep devices dry: While many phones today are some degree of water resistant, you still want to take some extra care to ensure phones, tablets, batteries, chargers and other equipment remain dry and accessible. Plastic zipper storage bags help shield devices, and there are weatherproof phones, phone cases and other protective accessories available.

Keep devices fully charged: Make sure your device is ready when you need it by keeping phone and tablet batteries fully charged in case commercial power goes out.

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Get some backup: When power is out for an extended period of time, portable battery packs can be a game-changer to ensure you remain connected. Don’t forget your car chargers as well in case you need to evacuate.

Create a list: Keep a list of emergency numbers in your phone so that you have them if needed.

Be prepared for loss: Take pictures of valuables and other important belongings for possible insurance claims. And make sure they’re uploaded to the cloud so you have a backup.

Review checklists: Review the hurricane preparedness checklist, power outage checklist and other resources from the American Red Cross.

Download useful apps: There are plenty of free weather, news, and safety-related apps available for download to your smartphone.

Business continuity is critical

The need for a secure, reliable connection for business continuity is never more apparent than during severe weather events and other emergencies. This is especially important with today’s increasingly common hybrid-work environments, in which highly distributed and mobile workforces rely on remote collaboration and digital networking tools to conduct business across wide and local areas simultaneously.

The Verizon Business portfolio of solutions and partners provides continuity of service for customers of all sizes from the largest enterprise to the small business that is the heart of the community. From SD-WAN, to advanced security tools, to cloud and edge applications, fleet management and tracking through Verizon Connect, fixed-wireless Internet for primary or backup connectivity. Verizon’s network-as-a-service strategy gives customers the flexibility to scale services as they require so that they’re ready for anything.

In an emergency situation, agility is vital, so as businesses launch their in-office and at-home hybrid operations, now is a great time to assess readiness plans ahead of storm season. Suggested steps for businesses and government organizations include:

Make sure you have contact information updated and readily available for all employees, including at-home information for remote workers and branch information for satellite offices.

Stress-test primary and backup networks and shore up any weak areas.

Make copies of insurance documents, review insurance coverages and update as appropriate.

Ensure employees working from home have documented all corporate equipment being used to work from home in case of damage or loss.

Ensure backup plans are in place to shift work in case work-from-home employees in a storm-impacted area have to evacuate their home or their home loses commercial power.

Verizon Frontline is ready to support first responders
The Verizon Frontline Crisis Response Team stands ready to deploy in support of public safety agencies — at no cost to the supported agencies — to ensure they have the mission-critical communications support they need when responding to severe weather and other crisis events.

This year alone, the team has responded to more than 1,000 requests for communications support from more than 500 federal, state and local public safety agencies in 47 states and the District of Columbia. They have delivered nearly 4,000 Verizon Frontline solutions to these agencies to help provide mission-critical voice and data service to first responders on the front lines.

Composed primarily of former first responders and military veterans, the Verizon Frontline Crisis Response Team provides on-demand, emergency assistance during crisis situations to public safety agencies and emergency responders. The team is available 24/7 to deliver Verizon Frontline technologies including portable cell sites, drones, charging stations, WiFi hotspots, and other Verizon Frontline devices and solutions that enable communications and/or boost network performance.

Verizon Frontline is the advanced network and technology built for first responders – developed over nearly three decades of partnership with public safety officials and agencies on the front lines – to meet their unique and evolving needs.

After an emergency, call before you dig
Debris clean up and property repair are important tasks after a storm. Before beginning to clean up and make repairs, call 811 or visit call811.com to determine where fiber or other cables are buried. Contacting 811 before any digging project, large or small, is the easiest step toward reducing the chance of damaging underground fiber and keeping customers and first responders connected in critical moments. Fiber is the invisible footprint that moves data throughout Verizon’s network across the country and around the world. Verizon owns and operates over 1 million miles of fiber; that’s enough to wrap around Earth 40 times. Cutting those cables when digging can result in customers losing service and data connections being lost. So before storm clean up begins, call 811.