Company-wide drills and After Action Reviews ensure company is continually improving emergency response and recovery times to benefit hurricane-prone coastal communities
John Taylor, 703-433-4759
Orlando, FL — 04/13/2006
At the National Hurricane Conference today, Greig Fennell, director of corporate business continuation at Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) described the success of the company’s business continuity program in responding to Hurricane Katrina and outlined plans for the upcoming 2006 Atlantic Hurricane season.
"Even though Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast just nine business days following the merger that created our company, because of careful merger planning and year-round emergency drills, Sprint Nextel was immediately on the ground in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama just hours following the storm’s landfall with an organized and unified emergency response," said Fennell, who is the only wireless industry representative speaking at this year’s conference. "The fact that both Sprint and Nextel made preparedness a year-round strategy before the companies merged made our efforts to respond to the tragedy in the Gulf Coast extremely efficient and effective. With the lessons of Hurricane Katrina integrated into our business continuity programs, Sprint Nextel is well-positioned to serve our customers during the 2006 hurricane season."
Sprint Nextel’s Business Continuity Office (BCO), headed by Fennell, oversees the company’s emergency planning, response and recovery efforts. When a crisis, such as a hurricane, threatens the company’s ability to serve customers in a "business as usual" manner, the office activates the company’s Enterprise Incident Management Team (EIMT), which is made up of directors of every major operating function in the business.
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. Dubbed "Sprint City" by employees, the facility housed and fed approximately 300 technicians, engineers, and emergency managers who swept into the area to restore service and meet the needs of customers across the Gulf Coast region. In addition to securing wireless coverage on both the Nextel National Network and the Nationwide Sprint PCS network, the BCO ensured that Sprint City was completely integrated into the company’s IT network.
In preparation for the upcoming hurricane season, the BCO is conducting a series of company-wide emergency drills in April, May and June that will help validate the plans and preparations for future hurricanes and other business threatening events.
Sprint Nextel Emergency Response Team Plays Critical Role in Hurricane Response and Recovery
Along with its leadership in business continuity programs, the company is expanding the scope of the Sprint Nextel Emergency Response Team (ERT) in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season. In the 2005 hurricane season, the ERT deployed its fleet of SatCOWs (Satellite Cell on Wheels) and SatCOLTs (Satellite Cell on Light Trucks), the design of which is proprietary to Sprint Nextel, to four hurricane response and recovery efforts in three states. 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. Initiated by Sprint Nextel in 2002 to serve public sector organizations in an emergency, the ERT has responded to 23 Presidentially-declared emergencies and events since its inception.
During an Emergency Sprint Nextel Customers Benefit from Nextel Walkie-Talkie, Direct Talk and Wireless Priority Service-enabled phones
In addition to the Business Continuity programs, customers have state-of-the-art communications tools already in their hands. Sprint’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 Talk(sm)-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.**
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.
**Terrain, weather, foliage, and man-made structures (such as buildings), among other things, may impact range availability. In-building usage may significantly reduce Direct Talk range.
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.