LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - With the 2007 hurricane season officially beginning June 1, Alltel Wireless is ready to respond to any weather-related emergency that might threaten communications services in coastal states.
"Alltel takes very seriously our responsibility to ensure our customers stay connected to friends and family during storms," said Chris Smith, executive vice president of network services for Alltel. "Every year, Alltel makes significant investments in its wireless network to improve coverage and reliability, and in 2007 we have once again taken all the necessary steps to prepare for hurricane season."
Alltel has for years maintained a formal plan for preparing for hurricanes and responds with manpower, generators and equipment once a storm hits. The company routinely opens a remote Hurricane Command Center to manage resources and lead network recovery efforts during disasters.
This year, Alltel already has:
- Secured agreements with vendors to provide fuel to keep trucks and generators running.
- Placed generators on standby in hurricane-prone areas, and tested on-site backup generators for readiness in case of a power outage. In addition, the company has purchased more than 100 new generators.
- Prepared to provide lodging, RVs, food and water for technicians working in storm-hit areas.
- Alltel also works to help customers in hard-hit areas. Retail stores remain open as long as possible and reopen as soon as conditions permit to allow customers access to phone chargers and batteries. Alltel opens mobile retail stores in particularly hard-hit areas.
Customers can prepare for hurricane season by:
- Verifying that wireless phones are working properly.
- Programming wireless phones with emergency contact numbers.
- Making sure wireless phone batteries remain fully charged.
- Keeping additional charged batteries on hand along with car chargers. Phones, batteries and chargers should be kept in dry, easily accessible areas.
In addition, in the event a hurricane occurs, customers should consider:
- Using Text Messaging instead of trying to place a call.
- Limiting non-emergency calls, whenever possible.
- Waiting 10-15 seconds before dialing again if a call fails to go through.
- Using their camera phones to record damage for insurance purposes.
Alltel is owner and operator of the nation's largest wireless network and has 12 million wireless customers.