Only Wireless Carrier to Participate in the Largest State-Sponsored Emergency Drill in U.S.; Will Demonstrate Industry-Leading Public Safety Wireless Solutions
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 11, 2008--Sprint’s (NYSE:S) Emergency Response Team (ERT) will participate in the upcoming Golden Guardian exercise, the nation’s largest state-sponsored emergency preparedness exercise, on Nov. 13 at 10 a.m. PST, and will provide state-of-the art equipment, personnel and wireless telecommunications service to emergency response teams as they react to a mock 7.8 earthquake.
"In the past few years, public and private-sector partnerships have stepped up and played a significant role in educating citizens about disaster preparedness and coordination efforts," said Tanya Lin, operations manager for Sprint ERT. "Sprint ERT has a long history of providing communications support to public safety agencies during disasters, and our participation in this exercise is a testament to our continued commitment to this cause. At Sprint, we not only provide phones but also offer communication tools that help public safety professionals save valuable seconds and lives."
During Golden Guardian, Sprint’s ERT will focus on adaptive communications during the simulated disaster. Two hours after the mock earthquake -- designed to test California’s ability to respond to a devastating quake along the San Andreas Fault -- Sprint will turn on its wireless service via a Satellite Cell site on a Light Truck (SatCOLT). Additionally, Sprint will distribute an ERT GoKit(TM), an emergency supply of 50 wireless phones and service to emergency responders, equipped with Nextel Direct Connect(R), the leading push-to-talk service operating on the fastest national push-to-talk network in the industry.
In fact, Nextel Direct Connect has proven to be a reliable tool for mission-critical communications, performing well through several events and natural disasters this year, including the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Southern California in July. There was an approximate 60 percent increase in Nextel Direct Connect push-to-talk call volume during the earthquake; however, Nextel Direct Connect connections continued to go through without interruption and were processing "as usual" throughout the earthquake and the mass calling event that followed in Los Angeles.
Omni Hotel, a Sprint customer located in downtown Los Angeles, was at full capacity during the earthquake and experienced no disruptions to its service.
"The ability to effectively communicate during times of crisis is absolutely essential to ensure the safety of our guests and staff," said Chaya Donne, director of marketing, Omni Los Angeles Hotel. "Our staff uses Sprint phones for external and internal communications, and we experienced no disruptions in the company’s Nextel Direct Connect or other wireless service. We were impressed with the reliability of Sprint’s service and the professional follow-up by the local sales manager after the event."
"Nextel Direct Connect is a valued tool for our customers because it enables instant conversations to share information and make decisions quickly, especially essential during an emergency or natural catastrophe," Lin said.
The Sprint ERT GoKit(TM) includes a selection of phones with multi-bay battery chargers and accessories - ready to be activated quickly for communication during emergencies, preparedness drills or pre-planned events. A customer only needs to purchase the phones and accessories and will be billed for the wireless services only when the phones are actually used. The ERT manages the inventory, packaging, programming, labeling and charging the phones. Additionally, Sprint ERT also provides Priority Services to qualifying Federal agencies for eligible emergencies, such as earthquakes, so that push-to-talk calls and cellular calls are given priority access to the network.
The ERT works side-by-side with public safety agencies and other customers to coordinate communications during emergencies and other large-scale events. The ERT maintains an inventory of over 25,000 handsets, along with a fleet of SatCOLTs and IP Trailers, and related communications equipment. These cutting-edge designs have restored wireless communications service rapidly in even the most severe conditions. SatCOLTs can restore wireless connectivity just about anywhere, without need for connection to the local power or telephone utilities.
To learn more about the Sprint Nextel Emergency Response Team and interoperable communications from Sprint Nextel, you can contact the ERT via e-mail at EmergencyResponseTeam@sprint.com, or call the 24x7 ERT Support Hotline at 1-888-639-0020. GETS Users can reach the ERT at 254-295-2220.
Sprint also offers these preparedness tips for earthquakes and other emergencies:
- Keep your wireless phone and extra backup batteries charged if evacuation is a possibility, but be aware that an interruption of commercial power and wireline service also could affect wireless calls.
- In times of commercial power outages, a car charger for your wireless phone should enable you to recharge the battery. In the event of an evacuation, bring your wall charger with you as well.
- Keep extra phones and accessories in a sealed plastic bag to help avoid damage from dirt and moisture.
- Load family emergency numbers into your wireless phone and keep a written copy of the numbers in your sealed plastic bag. Make sure those who need it have your wireless number and other contact numbers.
- In situations where some portions of the wireless network have been impacted by power outages or other damages, text messages might be able to get through where voice calls can’t.
About Sprint Nextel
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 nearly 51 million customers at the end of the third quarter 2008; 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.
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