Okla.'s Telecommunications Providers Tuned into Emergency Response Systems

Article excerpt

You can't call for help if your phone doesn't work.

Oklahoma's telecommunication providers are acutely aware that if service is interrupted, lives can be lost and businesses ruined. Consequently, each invests in redundant systems and emergency response capabilities.

AT&T was the first company in the country to earn the Department of Homeland Security's certification for disaster preparedness. The PS-Prep program encourages companies to enhance their capabilities for planning and responding to disasters.

The company conducts disaster preparedness drills and also has a team of portable cell sites to enhance cell coverage or respond to service interruptions in the event of a tornado or earthquake, AT&T spokesman Charlie Price said.

"All of our efforts have been wrapped around our capability to respond should something happen, whether it's a tornado, or flooding, or an earthquake," he said.

The Department of Homeland Security has stressed the importance of private sector preparedness.

"Private organizations across the country play a vital role in bolstering our disaster preparedness and response capabilities," Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said in a prepared statement when AT&T became certified. "I commend AT&T for achieving PS-Prep certification, and encourage other private sector partners to work with the PS-Prep program to further enhance the readiness and resiliency of our nation."

John Stankey, chief strategy officer for AT&T, issued a statement saying the company has a long-standing commitment to business continuity and disaster preparedness.

"AT&T has a long-standing commitment to business continuity and disaster preparedness," Stankey said. "The strength of our continuity program, coupled with our ... Global Network Operations Center, helps us and our customers effectively continue operations during and after emergencies."

Whether on the hurricane-prone East Coast or in the heart of Tornado Alley, disaster preparedness is something that communications companies like Verizon Wireless have to take seriously, Verizon spokeswoman Ginger Daril said. …

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