California Wildfire Season Ahead: Stay Prepared

At AT&T, we know firsthand the power and unpredictability of natural disasters. That’s why we're ready with one of the largest Natural Disaster Recovery fleets in the industry. So, as we all keep a close eye on wildfires this time of year, I encourage you to make sure that you and your family are prepared and have a plan to stay safe in the event of a disaster.

AT&T starts its disaster-preparedness process as we closely monitor any natural disaster's anticipated track.

Preparation includes:

Topping off fuel generators

Protecting physical facilities

Staging other emergency response equipment in strategic locations for quick deployment following the event

Testing high-capacity back-up batteries at cell sites

Our AT&T National Disaster Recovery (NDR) program is one of the industry’s largest and most advanced disaster response programs. The NDR fleet includes hundreds of technology recovery and support trailers nationwide that can be quickly deployed to support customers and first responders.

Response equipment readied in the wake of an event may include:

Hazmat equipment and supplies

Emergency communications vehicles (ECVs)

Flying Cell on Wings
(Flying COWs)

Drones

Internal and external resources for initial assessment and recovery efforts

A self-sufficient base camp. This is complete with sleeping tents, bathrooms, kitchen, laundry facilities, on-site nurse and Meals Ready to Eat (MREs)

Mobile cell sites and mobile command centers, like Cell on Wheels (COWs) and Cell on Light Trucks (COLTs)

Technology and support trailers to provide infrastructure support and mobile heating, ventilation and air conditioning

AT&T is prepared, and with your personal plan in place, I am confident we will rise to meet ant challenge and work together to address any issues and restore our communities.

Please stay safe, and thank you for what you do every day to keep our state prepared to meet and beat challenges.

As we prepare in case of an emergency, you should, too. Everybody should have a plan in place. When preparing for an evacuation, consider the following.

Customer Tips:

Keep your mobile device battery charged. In case of a power outage, have another way to charge your phone, like an extra battery, car charger or device-charging accessory. Applicable sales tax holidays are a great time to stock up on cell phone accessories.

Keep your mobile devices protected.  Keep it safe from the elements by storing it in a baggie or some other type of protective covering, like an Otterbox phone cover.

Have a family communication plan. Choose someone out of the area as a central contact. Make sure all family members know who to contact if they get separated. Most importantly, practice your emergency plan in advance.

Program all your emergency contact numbers and email addresses into your mobile phone. Numbers should include the police department, fire station, hospital and your family members.

Camera phones provide assistance. If you have a camera phone, take, store and send your insurance company photos and video clips of damage to your property.

Keep non-emergency calls to a minimum. Limit your calls to the most important ones. If there is a wildfire, chances are many people will be attempting to place calls to loved ones, friends and business associates.

Use location-based technology. Services like AT&T Navigator and AT&T FamilyMap can help you find evacuation routes or avoid traffic. They can also track a family member’s wireless device if you get separated.

Limit social media activity. Keep social media activity to a minimum during and after an event to limit network congestion and allow for emergency communications to go through.

Keep the lines open for emergencies. During evacuations and a fire's aftermath, network resources will likely be taxed. To help ensure that emergency personnel have open lines, keep these tips in mind.

Be prepared for high call volume. During an emergency, many people are trying to use their phones at the same time. The increased calling volume may create network congestion, leading to “fast busy” signals on your wireless phone or a slow dial tone on your landline phone. If this happens, hang up, wait several seconds and then call again. This allows your original call data to clear the network before you try again.

Forward your home number to your mobile number in the event of an evacuation. Call forwarding is based out of the telephone central office. This means you will get calls from your landline phone even if your local telephone service is disrupted. If the central office is not operational, services such as voicemail and call forwarding may be useful.

Track and access weather information on your mobile device. Many homes lose power during these kinds of events. You can stay up to speed as a DIRECTV customer, by streaming local weather channels using the DIRECTV app on your smartphone. If you subscribe to mobile DVR, you can also stream every channel directly to your phone.

Text messaging. During an emergency situation, text messages may go through more quickly than voice calls because they require fewer network resources. All AT&T wireless devices are text messaging-capable. Depending on your text or data plan, additional charges may apply.

After a storm passes:

You should monitor local news and take the necessary safety precautions for your personal safety and when traveling to work.

Go to https://about.att.com/pages/disaster_relief for more information and tips on disaster preparedness.

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