Sprint's Network and Emergency Response Operations Stand Ready for Tropical Storm Karen
As Tropical Storm Karen continues its path towards the Gulf Coast of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi and is projected to become a possible Category 1 hurricane before making landfall, Sprint (NYSE:S) is preparing its network, mobilizing Network Disaster Recovery staff and equipment, and strategically staging Sprint Emergency Response Team (ERT) personnel and resources to serve customers and mitigate storm impact.
Sprint's preparations include:
- Actively monitoring Tropical Storm Karen's continued path while instituting flood prevention measures at Sprint network facilities and retail stores.
- Fully fueling all permanent generators and mobilizing portable generators into threatened areas to ensure they're available to meet response needs based on the current track and intensity of Karen's wind speeds and rainfall.
- Verifying operational readiness of generators and emergency equipment at all mobile switching centers and network Points of Presence (POP) – the facilities where traffic enters and leaves the company's global IP network, which facilitate dedicated data services for Sprint's corporate and government customers, as well as other critical communications.
- Ensuring Sprint network strike teams are on standby and ready to deploy following Karen's landfall and assessed impact.
- Providing any local public safety agency in need of emergency communications assistance with 14 days of service free of charge for 25 Sprint ERT wireless devices in states where an official “state of emergency” has been declared.
- Preparing and mobilizing the Sprint Emergency Response Team's SatCOLT (Satellite Cell on Light Truck) assets, mobile phone and broadband devices, reservist staff and other equipment at its Orlando, Fla. hub to provide wireless communications service to local first responders, emergency command centers and other public safety officials in the field.
Whenever a hurricane or tropical storm threat is issued, Sprint's Network Disaster Recovery and Emergency Response teams implement a standard preparedness and response plan approximately 24 to 72 hours before the storm is predicted to make landfall, including:
- Strategically preparing network resources, personnel, and Sprint's wireless and wireline infrastructure for pending storms.
- Reviewing and activating Sprint's Network Disaster Recovery plans to help ensure the continuity of Sprint's network and overall service following a storm's landfall.
- Determining the Sprint Emergency Response Team's support of public safety, emergency medical personnel, and various state and local agencies.
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 seasoned, full-time 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.
Sprint ERT has conducted more than 5,600 deployments, and provided emergency wireless support for close to 1,300 events. To facilitate this multi-agency coordination during times of an emergency, the team maintains an inventory of 25,000 Sprint handsets, mobile broadband devices, and fully charged Sprint Direct Connect phones at secured facilities in Dallas, Orlando, Fla. 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. Agencies in need of critical communication support from Sprint's Emergency Response Team should contact the ERT hotline at 1-888-639-0020. Other requests should be sent via email to ERTRequests@sprint.com.