May 17, 2006
Sprint Nextel Emergency Response Team Expands Programs for Hurricane Response and Recovery
No other carrier can match Sprint Nextel's disaster recovery support and interoperability
John B. Taylor
Reston, Va. — 05/17/2006
Along with significant investments in its networks and business continuity programs, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) is preparing for the 2006 hurricane season by expanding the scope of its experienced and respected Sprint Nextel Emergency Response Team (ERT).
Unique to Sprint Nextel, the ERT works side-by-side with public safety agencies and other customers to coordinate communications during emergencies and other large-scale events, standing at the ready to provide customers with three key resources during disaster response and recovery efforts:
- Personnel: The ERT staff has an unmatched depth of experience, having responded to 23 presidentially-declared emergencies and events in recent years. Many have backgrounds in military, law enforcement or emergency management before coming to the company. In addition, Sprint Nextel has a corps of more than 1,000 trained reserve employees who can volunteer to staff scores of Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) around the country. ERT EOC reservists receive extensive training in emergency management policies and practices to support public safety agencies during disasters.
- Equipment: The ERT has nearly 30,000 phones at the ready for use by public sector customers in times of crisis. Likewise, with ERT Go-Kits™, public safety officials can keep a cache of phones on-hand, ready for rapid activation during emergencies, drills or pre-planned events.
- Infrastructure: The ERT maintains a fleet of proprietary satellite equipment that can restore service rapidly in even the most severe conditions. Sprint SatCOWs (Satellite Cell Sites on Wheels) and SatCOLTs (Satellite Cell Sites on Light Trucks) can restore wireless and IP wireline connectivity anywhere, without need for connection to the local power or telephone utilities.
New in 2006, Sprint Nextel's ERT Rapid Deployment Services is deploying SatCOLTs and additional staff to be pre-staged in southern states. This for-fee service will allow first responders and other commercial entities access to a service that will allow interoperable terrestrial-to-satellite services during an emergency.
"At the ERT, we have managed communications services for first responders, so that they can focus on their mission – saving lives and restoring communities," said Matt Foosaner, director of the Sprint Nextel ERT. "Our new Rapid Deployment Services extend that capability for other critical communications. We're proud that we go above and beyond what's expected of a typical telecom carrier, providing a level of service that no one else can match."
In the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane season, the Sprint Nextel ERT deployed its personnel and its fleet of SatCOWs and SatCOLTs to hurricane response and recovery efforts across the Gulf Coast and Florida in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. The ERT also made more than 20,000 handsets available to first responders as part of the company's $10 million in cash and charitable donations to hurricane relief last year. Since its creation in 2002, the Sprint ERT has served hundreds of public sector organizations and emergency events.
Garry Briese, Executive Director of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, notes, "The Sprint ERT is a vital communication solution, and they certainly proved their mettle during Katrina. If you're hit with a hurricane this season, the Sprint ERT should be one of the first calls to get your emergency response communications system up and running."
Sprint Nextel SatCOLTs: Proven, Powerful Differentiators
Sprint Nextel Satellite Cell Sites on Light Trucks have made a real difference for our customers in times of crisis. By definition mobile and rugged, SatCOLTS can be pre-positioned in staging areas before hurricanes, or even loaded on planes and delivered anywhere around the world, to provide communications coverage even amidst the most severe ground situations. By combining standard COLT equipment with satellite uplink in a proprietary design, Sprint Nextel does what no other carrier can – delivering a secure and stable communications platform with wireless and wireline IP connectivity – as well as interoperability among private radio networks - completely independent of the local power and telephone infrastructure.
Each SatCOLT is a 27-foot truck, loaded with satellite equipment, Cell Site antennas, generators and enough fuel to operate for an extended period of time. A team of two can raise the 60-foot mast and start up the generators in about half an hour, and have the SatCOLT fully operating in less than two hours. SatCOLTs propagate a wireless signal based on the iDEN technology of the Nextel National Network, with a significant range depending on topography and other factors. This year, SatCOLTs have been upgraded to provide access to Sprint's wireline Global IP network as well. Each SatCOLT also has interoperability equipment on board to mesh seamlessly with the devices already in use by public safety officials on the ground.
Other Hurricane Preparations
The Sprint Nextel ERT is just one element in the company's preparation for the 2006 Atlantic Hurricane season. The Business Continuity Office (BCO) oversees the company's emergency planning, response and recovery efforts. In less than 72 hours after the landfall of Hurricane Katrina, the BCO led the construction of a fully functional incident command center near the area of impact.
In preparation for the upcoming Atlantic Hurricane season, the BCO is conducting a series of company-wide emergency drills that will help validate the plans and preparations for future hurricanes and other business threatening events.
Likewise, Sprint Nextel is working to increase network coverage and resiliency in storm-prone regions, as part of an overall $6 billion investment nationwide in 2006. And many customers already have state-of-the-art communications tools in their hands. Sprint Nextel's iDEN-based Nextel® Walkie-Talkie feature does not rely entirely upon the public switched telephone network; it has remained fully operational during past crises when there have been issues with the public switched telephone network. Furthermore, Direct TalkSM-enabled phones can communicate handset-to-handset, completely independent of any wireless network. With a range of up to six miles, Direct Talk has proven invaluable during past hurricane response efforts.
To learn more about the Sprint Nextel Emergency Response Team and interoperable communications from Sprint Nextel, you can contact the ERT Support Hotline 24-7 at 1-888-639-0020. GETS Users can reach the ERT at 254-295-2220.
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/hurricaneinfo.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of communications services bringing mobility to consumer, business and government customers. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two robust wireless networks offering industry leading mobile data services; instant national and international walkie-talkie capabilities; and an award-winning and global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.