OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), May 23, 2013 - With the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasting 13 to 20 named storms and three to six major hurricanes during the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season, Sprint (NYSE:S) and the Sprint Emergency Response Team (ERT) announced that they are prepared to immediately respond if a storm strikes.
Should a hurricane or tropical storm threaten the operation of Sprint’s network this hurricane season, the company’s Network Disaster Recovery and Emergency Response teams will begin to implement a standard emergency response approximately 24 to 72 hours before the storm is predicted to make landfall. As part of that emergency protocol, Sprint pre-stages critical company assets in the region where the storm is expected. These pre-staged assets include:
- Portable generators to provide power to Sprint network assets when local electric power is unavailable.
- Satellite Cell on Light Trucks (SatCOLTs) and Cell Sites on Wheels (COWs) to expedite restoration of service and to help facilitate wireless and IP communications among disaster relief and emergency response agencies.
- Experienced and well-trained technicians and engineers who can readily access and maintain the resiliency of Sprint network assets.
Sprint also has thousands of permanent generators – automatic cutover switches to minimize loss of commercial power – installed at:
- All of its wireless and wireline switches – the network components where wireless data and calls are routed to their final destination.
- The company’s network Points of Presence (POP) – the facilities where traffic enters and leaves the company’s global IP network, which facilitates dedicated data services for Sprint’s corporate and government customers, as well as other critical communications.
- Wireless cell sites which serve coastal communities on the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states most at risk for power outages.
Since the end of last year’s hurricane season, in addition to the thousands of permanent generators already deployed, Sprint has installed new additional permanent generators at various cell sites in Mississippi, Texas, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.
To further illustrate its business continuity preparation and post-storm plans, Sprint is releasing a series of infographics detailing:
- The stages that network staff go through to prepare resources, personnel, and Sprint’s wireless and wireline infrastructure for pending storms.
- The response steps that Sprint’s Network Disaster Recovery Team implements to help ensure the continuity of Sprint’s network and overall service following a storm’s landfall.
- The Sprint Emergency Response Team’s support of public safety, emergency medical personnel, and various state and local agencies during times of a natural disaster.
- The process a wireless call takes to complete and how this service is vitally dependent on commercial power and Local Exchange Carriers (LECs) – two resources that are typically impaired following a major hurricane or tropical storm.
Sprint is committed to serving the emergency response community
The first of its kind in the industry, the Sprint Emergency Response Team (ERT) was created in 2002 as a cross-functional group of full-time and seasoned personnel with expertise in providing immediate restoration of wireless voice, data and IP service, and communications coordination among disaster relief and emergency response agencies, public safety officials and medical personnel.
To facilitate this multi-agency coordination during times of an emergency, Sprint ERT maintains an inventory of 25,000 Sprint handsets, mobile broadband devices, and fully charged Sprint Direct Connect phones at secured facilities in Dallas, Orlando, and Sterling, Va.
In addition to having experience in military and public safety communications, continuity management, and disaster response, Sprint ERT is supported year-round and nationwide by an ERT Reservist program. These 1,100-plus ERT Reservists are trained annually on all aspects of Incident Command System (ICS), National Incident Management System (NIMS), Emergency Operation Center (EOC) staffing and management, and disaster response.
To rapidly address client needs round the clock, Sprint ERT also maintains a 24-hour hotline, 365 days a year, and during times of state and federally declared national disasters, provides 25 mobile devices and wireless service free of charge for 14 days from the date of declaration to state and local agencies.
Sprint ERT has conducted more than 5,600 deployments, and provided emergency wireless support for close to 1,300 events, including the recent tornados in Moore, Okla., the 2013 Presidential Inauguration and the 2013 LAX Air Exercise.
Real-time storm updates through HurricaneTrack.com and Sprint’s network
Since 2001, Sprint has worked with Wilmington, N.C.-based weather data and hurricane awareness expert, Mark Sudduth of HurricaneTrack.com on his team’s efforts to provide live, immediate and seamless reporting during every hurricane season. Sprint has supplied Sudduth and his team with Sprint 3G and 4G LTE mobile phones and broadband devices to give them fast and reliable mobile Internet connectivity for their field data collection efforts and online video reporting. Sudduth has reported on close to 50 named tropical storms and hurricanes along the Atlantic Coast since 1999.
“The wireless resources and support from Sprint have been truly invaluable to our efforts to study and report on hurricanes and tropical storms,” Sudduth said. “No matter the storm condition – it can be a Category 1 or a Category 5 hurricane – Sprint’s 3G and 4G service has been reliable and always available when we need it.”
HurricaneTrack.com’s official mobile app – Hurricane Impact – features a daily video blog, live weather data and web cam images, exclusive tracking maps, a live "Surge Cam" developed specifically for the app and video reports from the field during tropical storm and hurricane landfall events. Hurricane Impact is currently available for iOS devices in the App Store with an Android version in the works to be released this summer.
Preparedness and post-storm tips for Sprint customers
Additionally, wireless consumers are encouraged to use the following tips to prepare for a hurricane, severe flood or other natural disasters:
- Wireless networks sometimes experience heavy traffic during emergency events, so remember to send text messages, rather than call.
- Keep your wireless phone and backup batteries charged, but be aware that an interruption of wireline and commercial power could affect wireless calls. If possible, get extra batteries and charge them.
- In times of commercial power outages, a car adapter for your wireless phone should enable you to recharge the battery.
- Keep phones and necessary accessories in a sealed plastic bag to avoid water damage.
- Load family and emergency numbers into your wireless phone.
- Use your Sprint camera phone to take digital pictures or video of your property and valuables before the storm hits. Upload the images to your personal pictures inbox on www.sprint.com so you have "before" pictures in the event of any storm damage.
For more information about Sprint’s 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.
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 served more than 55 million customers at the end of the first quarter of 2013 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint as the most improved company in customer satisfaction, across all 47 industries, during the last five years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in both its 2011 and 2012 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.
Crystal Davis, 571-288-6806