Wednesday, January 6, 2010

AT&T Offers Winter Storm Tips for Georgians

Editor's Note: Brrrr... The chill is on. Here are some great tips as Georgia looks at continuing cold and winter storm weather over the next few days.

/PRNewswire/ -- With freezing temperatures and an expected forecast of snow across metro Atlanta and Coastal, Middle and Southern Georgia this week, AT&T* is providing important communications tips for use before, during and after a storm.

AT&T realizes the important role that communications plays in an emergency situation, and has invested millions of dollars to toughen its networks and further bolster its disaster recovery capabilities. AT&T is committed to keeping its customers connected, and has taken steps to ensure its wireless networks are ready.

AT&T Winter Storm Tips:

Have a family communications plan in place. Designate someone out of the area as a central contact, and make certain that all family members know whom to contact if they become separated. Most important, practice your emergency plan in advance.

Use text messaging. During a peak emergency situation, text messages will often go through quicker than voice calls because they require less network resources. All of AT&T's wireless devices are text messaging capable.

Take advantage of weather text-alert programs. AT&T participates in a number of text alert school closing notification programs. AT&T's customers should check their local news websites to see if weather related text alert programs are available in their area.

Make sure you have a "Winter Storm Phone." It is a good idea to have a wireless phone on hand and at least one corded (landline) telephone that is not dependent on electricity in case of a power outage. Cordless telephones usually have receivers that require electricity, so they won't work if you lose your power.

Keep non-emergency calls to a minimum. If there is severe weather, chances are many people will be attempting to place calls to loved ones, friends and business associates.

Program all of your emergency contact numbers and e-mail addresses into your mobile phone. Numbers should include the police department, fire station and hospital, as well as your family members.

Keep your wireless phone's battery charged at all times. Have an alternative plan to recharge your battery in case of a power outage, such as charging your wireless device by using a car charger or having extra charged mobile phone batteries or disposable mobile phone batteries on hand.

Keep your wireless phone dry. The biggest threat to your device during a storm is water, so keep your equipment safe from the elements by storing it in a baggie or some other type of protective covering.

Track the storm and access weather information on your wireless device. Many homes lose power during severe weather. If you have a wireless device that provides access to the Internet, you can watch weather reports and get regular updates on your phone.

Take advantage of location-based mapping technology. Services such as AT&T Navigator and AT&T FamilyMap can help you avoid traffic congestion from downed trees or power lines, as well as track a family member's wireless device in case you get separated.

Use your camera phone, take photos -- even video clips -- of damaged property for your insurance company from your device.

AT&T monitors and maintains its networks 24/7 and conducts readiness drills throughout the year to ensure that the networks and personnel are ready to respond in a moment's notice.

AT&T's wireless network storm preparations include:

-- Adding capacity to the wireless network to accommodate increased call
-- Routine testing of high-capacity backup batteries located at every
cell site.
-- Topping off generators with fuel at cell sites and central and
field-level switching facilities.
-- Staging mobile cell sites and portable generators in safe locations
for their immediate deployment once a storm has passed.
-- Expanding the number of fixed power generators at our wireless cell
sites. These permanent generators are in addition to the battery
backup power that we have at every wireless cell site across Georgia.

AT&T representatives at any of its more than 60 Georgia retail store locations can provide additional tips for charging extra cell phone batteries and learning to text. More information on AT&T's disaster preparedness can be found at:

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

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