AT&T Emergency Preparedness Tips Help Residents and Small Businesses Plan for Hurricane Season, Other Emergency Situations

Resources in Place as the 2007 Hurricane Season Begins June 1

May 14, 2007, 01:00 ET from AT&T Inc.

    ATLANTA, May 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- With the 2007 hurricane
 season less than a month away, AT&T (NYSE:   T) is prepared to respond
 quickly and efficiently should a storm strike. To help ensure that
 residents in southeast coastal areas are ready as well, the company is
 offering important communications preparedness tips for consumers and small
 business owners alike.
     "Because of its historic presence in the Southeast, AT&T has probably
 dealt with more hurricanes than any other communications company in North
 America," said David Scobey, president of AT&T Southeast. "While no one can
 predict the impact of Mother Nature, we can all take precautions and have a
 plan and functioning communications equipment in place when hurricanes or
 any other types of disasters strike."
     "AT&T has invested billions of dollars in its networks and systems to
 ensure reliability and to prepare for the hurricane season and other
 natural disasters," added Steve Sitton, president of AT&T southeast
 wireless division.
     On the wireline side, switching equipment has been relocated above
 anticipated flood levels. Copper wiring has been upgraded to fiber optic
 cable, and many buried, air-core cables have been replaced with water-proof
 cables. Physical facilities have been protected against flooding. On the
 wireless side, we have generators at all cell sites in hurricane-prone
 areas and many of them have been switched to natural gas to eliminate the
 need for refueling.
     Millions of residential and business customers depend on AT&T for
 critical voice, data and video communications and entertainment services.
 AT&T is committed to delivering the highest levels of service quality and
 reliability for customers under all circumstances. A critical element of
 AT&T's efforts to maximize network reliability is the company's ability to
 swiftly respond when disaster strikes. AT&T unique Network Disaster
 Recovery capability helps to ensure availability of critical communications
 services when they're needed most.
     AT&T has invested more than $500 million to create and maintain its NDR
 capabilities over the past ten years. AT&T's NDR team includes specially
 trained managers, engineers and technicians from across the United States,
 as well as a fleet of more than 500 self-contained equipment-trailers and
 support vehicles that house the same equipment and components as an AT&T
 data-routing or voice-switching center.
     AT&T also recently expanded its emergency response fleet to include two
 new state-of-the-art mobile command centers -- named MACH 1 and MACH 2 and
 two additional satellite-enabled emergency communication vehicles -- that
 can be brought into an affected area quickly, providing full communications
 capabilities as well as working and sleeping quarters for employees. These
 fully-equipped, completely self-sufficient centers can be set up and
 operating within two hours of arrival. They are equipped with generators, a
 satellite dish for constant communications, Local Area Network (LAN)
 connectivity and a PBX phone system. More than 30 technicians can work in
 and from MACH 1 and MACH 2. MACH 1 is a 53-foot tractor-trailer that
 expands on each side to reveal 1,000 square feet of workspace. MACH 2 is a
 38-foot gooseneck trailer that can be transported to more remote locations.
     AT&T offers the following recommendations to consumers and small
 business owners for preparing for this year's hurricane season:
     Consumer Tips
     -- Have a family communications plan in place. Designate someone out of
        the area as a central contact, and make certain all family members know
        who to contact if they become separated.
     -- Prepare for the worst-case scenario. During natural disasters, such as
        hurricanes or flooding, wireline services can be interrupted for
        extended periods of time because of damage caused by high winds or
        flooding. Wireless phones may serve as alternative means of
     -- Be sure you have a "Hurricane Phone." Be sure that you have at least
        one corded telephone that is not dependent on electricity in case of an
        electrical power outage. Cordless telephones usually have receivers
        that are electrically charged, and, thus, will not work if there is a
        power outage. Consider keeping a basic hard-wired phone and a wireless
        phone on hand for emergencies to enable communication with safety
        officials and loved ones, even when the power is out.
     -- Be radio-ready. Make sure that you have a working, battery-operated
        radio. The radio can keep you up to date on the latest weather reports,
        public safety issues and evacuation notices.
     -- Program all of your emergency contact numbers into your cell phone.
        Numbers should include the police department, fire station and
        hospital, as well as your family members.
     -- Keep your wireless phone batteries charged at all times. Have an
        alternate plan to recharge your battery in case of power outages (i.e.
        charging via your car charger, extra cell phone batteries, use of a
        disposable cell phone battery).
     -- Keep your wireless phone dry. The biggest threat to your device during
        a hurricane is water, so keep your equipment safe from the elements.
     -- Forward your home number to your wireless number in the event of an
        evacuation. Since call forwarding is based out of the telephone central
        office, you will get incoming calls from your landline phone, even if
        your local telephone service is disrupted at your home. In the unlikely
        event that the central office is not operational, services such as
        voice mail, call forwarding, remote access call forwarding, and call
        forwarding- busy line/don't answer may be useful.
     -- Use your wireless phone to access weather information. Many homes lose
        power during severe weather. If you have a wireless phone that provides
        access to the Internet, you can watch the Weather Channel and its new
        Severe Weather Mode service through AT&T's MobiTV(R) service or through
        My-Cast(R) Weather if you subscribe to those services.
     -- If you have a camera phone, take, store and send photos of damaged
        property to your insurance company from your device.
     Small Business Tips
     -- Set up a call forwarding service to a predetermined backup location.
        Set up a single or multiple hotline number(s) for employees, employee
        families, customers and partners, as appropriate, to call so all
        parties know about the business situation and emergency plan. For this
        to be most effective, maintain an updated contact list, including cell
        phones and home phone and email addresses, for all employees.
     -- Protect hardware/software/data records/employee records, etc. Routinely
        back up these files to an off-site location. Use a generator for
        supplying backup power to vital computer hardware and other
        mission-critical equipment. Pre-arrange replacement of damaged hardware
        with vendors to ensure quick business recovery.
     -- Outline detailed plans for evacuation and shelter-in-place plans.
        Practice these plans (employee training, etc.). Establish a backup
        location for your business and meeting place for all employees.
     -- Assemble a crisis-management team and coordinate efforts with
        neighboring businesses and building management. Be aware that disasters
        impacting your suppliers also impact your business. Outline a plan for
        supply chain continuity for business essentials.
     Maximizing Service During a Hurricane
     -- Keep in mind that, during an emergency, many more people are trying to
        use their cell phones at the same time compared to normal calling
        activity. When more people try to call at the same time, the increased
        calling volume may create network congestion leading to "fast busy"
        signals from wireless phones. Customers may even receive a message that
        says, "Your call cannot be completed at this time." If you hear this
        message, simply hang up, wait a few seconds and try the call again.
        This allows your original call data to clear the network before you try
     -- During periods of extremely high calling volume, you also may
        experience a slow dial tone on your wireline phone. If you don't hear a
        dial tone immediately, wait a few seconds or hang up and try your call
        again later.
     -- Try wireless short/text messaging service (SMS). During an emergency
        situation, text messages will often go through quicker than voice
        calls. More than 95 percent of AT&T phones are SMS-capable. Also, if
        you have a wireless data device such as a BlackBerry, you can use its
        messaging capabilities to communicate. Depending on the call plan,
        additional charges may apply.
     -- Keep non-emergency calls to a minimum, and limit your calls to the most
        important ones. Chances are that if there is severe weather, many
        people will be attempting to place calls to loved ones, friends and
        business associates.
     Additional information and tips for disaster preparedness are available
 at .
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