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C Spire Braces for Tropical Storm Barry’s Expected Landfall Along Gulf Coast
2019-07-12

Telecom provider bolsters network to maintain service as storm strengthens into possible hurricane

Ridgeland, Miss., (July 12, 2019) – C Spire has bolstered its network resources and mobilized employees in case it needs to respond to Tropical Storm Barry, which is expected to make landfall early Saturday in southeast Louisiana and along portions of the Gulf Coast and Florida Panhandle as the season’s first hurricane.

The slow-moving Barry is expected to carry winds up to 80 mph, storm surge of 3 to 6 feet and rainfall totals of up to 20 inches in some areas. Mandatory evacuations have been issued in parts of Louisiana where a state of emergency has been declared. Several south Mississippi counties are bracing for flash flooding from torrential rains.

C Spire readies its extensive wireless and wireline networks and workforce for a wide range of potential disasters, including major weather events such as hurricanes. The company routinely reviews and updates its emergency preparedness plans and conducts drills throughout the year to test the readiness of its network and employees.

"Our preparations are designed to give customers maximum reliability for all of their communications at the time of greatest need," said Mark Rigney, Senior Vice President of Core Network for C Spire. "People depend on our network as a lifeline to the outside world during emergencies and we take that responsibility seriously.”

July is usually considered a quiet month for hurricane formation in the Atlantic with September and October historically the months of highest activity. Last year was an above average season with 15 named storms and eight hurricanes, two of which were considered major and caused significant property damage and loss of life.

While the risks vary each year, it’s still important for residents and businesses in hurricane-prone areas to prepare for the worst. “It only takes one disaster to change your life forever. That’s why we prepare our network and people for the inevitable challenges that come with hurricanes,” Rigney said.

All employees and contractors, along with an extensive suite of network resources, are on "high alert" as Barry approaches the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, according to Rigney. C Spire also is ready to activate its Emergency Response Plan, which guides the use of resources and personnel during a crisis.

C Spire has massed equipment and materials to protect critical network facilities and cell sites in case the hurricane tracks eastward towards Alabama and Florida. If needed, the company will use back up batteries and diesel generators at mobile sites and switching centers and has replacement fuel supplies in case normal fuel delivery options are interrupted by commercial power outages or road closures.

The company operates multiple hurricane-ready hardened switches that provide added protection and service assurance for customers. The high-tech telecommunications switching facilities are designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane with winds up to 155 miles an hour, connect millions of calls, wireless data transmissions, video content and other critical services daily for consumer and business customers. In addition to hardened and reinforced shells, the all-steel and concrete buildings house large-scale 500-kilowatt diesel power generators, a grid of back up batteries and other redundant back-up systems, operations and technologies.

C Spire also relies on an extensive network of microwave technology that can circumvent damaged or destroyed landline systems and ensure that communications can be routed to their final destination, Rigney said. “Microwave technology can assist with communications during natural disasters when landline systems are down,” he added.

In addition, C Spire offers companies of all sizes a suite of disaster recovery and business continuity services through commercial data centers that operate 24/7/365 with the industry’s highest design, construction and operation certification through the Uptime Institute.

The structures can withstand a 145-mph wind load with 9-inch think external steel-reinforced precast concrete walls welded to 6-foot-wide spread footings. In addition to multiple redundant power feeds, the buildings also boast giant diesel generators each capable of producing 1.65 megawatts of continuous power, enough to light thousands of homes and businesses.

“This infrastructure, our continuing network investments and our dedicated, customer-inspired workforce will help ensure that essential communications continue for our consumer and business customers even when we experience severe weather events, natural disasters and other life-threatening situations,” Rigney said.

The company is coordinating its emergency response efforts with local and state agencies and volunteer organizations, including the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, Alabama Emergency Management Agency, Louisiana Emergency Management, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

About C Spire>
C Spire is a diversified telecommunications and technology services company that provides world-class, customer-inspired wireless communications, 1 Gigabit consumer Internet access as well as a full suite of dedicated Internet, wireless, IP Voice, data and cloud services for businesses. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.