May 27, 2009

As Hurricane Season Begins, Texas's First Responders Partner with Sprint in Two Large-Scale Emergency Training Exercises

Sprint will support over 30 participating agencies with well-trained emergency personnel, interoperable wireless devices, and equipment and network services

AUSTIN, Texas & BROWNSVILLE, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May. 27, 2009-- As the Atlantic Hurricane season begins on June 1, Sprint (NYSE:S) will continue its long history of supporting Texas’s first responders and public safety agencies in crisis situations by serving as the official wireless communications provider for two concurrent emergency training exercises that will simulate rescue and recovery efforts following a Category 3 hurricane. These exercises are:

For these two events, the Sprint Emergency Response Team (ERT) will deploy three Satellite Cell on Light Truck (SatCOLTS), hundreds of Nextel Direct Connect® devices, and various ERT personnel to facilitate interoperable wireless communications among the dozens of federal, state, and local relief and response agencies and military units.

DICE to play critical role in ensuring interoperability

DICE is the only DoD exercise whose principal purpose is to generate joint interoperability certifications. Participating agencies are given a series of interoperability testing, training, and transformation exercises with a primary focus of mitigating operational risks by thoroughly testing technical and communications systems in a realistic joint tactical network. Over 30 federal, state and local government agencies and military units will participate, including the Texas National Guard.

“Over the years, the Texas National Guard has consistently relied on Sprint’s wireless network, Emergency Response Team, and Nextel Direct Connect® service to communicate during hurricanes and other emergencies that may threaten our state,” said Brian Attaway, deputy J6/plans chief for the Texas National Guard. “In fact, last year we started using Sprint’s mobile navigation services, and we’ve been more than pleased with the results.”

The Rio Grande Valley Counts on Sprint during hurricane season

While the DICE is being held in Austin, officials in the Lower Rio Grande Valley will hold a hurricane drill for the first responders of Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy counties on the South Texas coast.

“We’re confident having Sprint and its Emergency Response Team provide mobile communications for the Lower Rio Grande exercise will demonstrate how valuable their service will be to us this hurricane season. Sprint is a model of how a wireless carrier should perform, respond, and partner with public safety during a hurricane,” said Cameron County Judge Carlos H. Cascos, CPA.

Sprint Emergency Response Team provides critical support

Created in 2002, the Sprint ERT is the only organization in the wireless industry made up of full-time, seasoned staff with experience in fire, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), law enforcement, military communications and commercial network technology. The Sprint ERT will support both Texas exercises this week.

Sprint ERT members train throughout the year for worst-case scenarios, provide business and first responders with immediate access to mobile communications for emergencies and field training exercises, and maintain a 24-hour hotline, 365 days a year, to rapidly address client needs. Sprint’s ERT has conducted more than 2,800 deployments for more than 700 public sector and enterprise agencies across the country; 28 presidentially declared disasters; seven national security events; and dozens of hurricanes, including:

  • Hurricanes Katrina (2005) and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike (2008).
  • The 2005 and 2009 Presidential inaugurations in Washington, D.C.
  • The 2008 and 2004 Democratic National Conventions and Republican National Conventions.
  • The 2004 G8 Summit and the D.C. Sniper Task Force (2003).

Additionally, to ensure critical communications are available to its Texas customers this hurricane season, Sprint invested more than $105 million in expansion and enhancements to its Nationwide Sprint Network and Nextel National Network in 2008, including:

  • Network investments of more than $4 million in South Texas, more than $33 million in Houston, $19 million in the Dallas-Fort Worth region and $11 million in San Antonio.
  • Pre-staging Sprint’s ERT, network and business continuity personnel in hurricane-prone states with mobile devices for public safety agencies, and additional portable generators, SatCOLTS, and Cell Sites on Wheels (COWs) that can be deployed to restore wireless service quickly for customers and disaster response efforts.
  • Making “clean” energy efficiency a priority in its network management and resiliency during hurricane season by installing more than 60 hydrogen fuel cell generators at cell site locations across the Houston area. Installed between 2005 and 2007, these cells provide a much cleaner alternative to diesel-powered backup generators and are activated when service from the local electric utility is disrupted during severe weather or during other natural disasters.

For more information about Sprint Nextel hurricane preparation efforts, or to learn what you can do to prepare for a major storm, visit www.sprint.com/hurricaneinformation. Public safety officials seeking information about services from the Sprint Emergency Response Team should call 1-888-639-0020 or email ERTRequests@sprint.com.


Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two wireless networks serving more than 49 million customers at the end of the first quarter of 2009; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.

Source: Sprint

Media Contact:
Crystal N. Davis, 571-288-6806

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