Jackson, Miss., (February 16, 2020) – C Spire, known as an industry leader in emergency preparedness, has bolstered network resources and readied its highly-trained staff to respond to any telecommunications emergencies or widespread natural disasters if they occur during the expected flooding of the Pearl River in three central Mississippi counties.
Aided by nearly 24 inches of rain in January and February, the Pearl River is expected to crest at the third highest level on record near 38 feet later Monday, threatening to inundate over 2,400 homes and businesses and more than 160 city, county and state roads and highways in Byram, Flowood, Jackson and north Richland.
C Spire hardens its extensive wireless and wireline networks and prepares its workforce year-round for a wide range of potential disasters, including major weather events such as floods. The company routinely reviews and updates its emergency preparedness and crisis communications plans and conducts drills to test the readiness of its network and employees.
"Our preparations are designed to give customers maximum reliability for their communications at the time of greatest need," said C Spire Chief Technology Officer Carla Lewis. "When disaster strikes, people depend on telecommunications as a lifeline to the outside world. We are committed to providing our customers with the best network coverage possible in every situation.”
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in most areas ahead of the Pearl’s rising floodwaters. Swollen by near record rainfall in January, the river rose to 34 feet near Jackson last month and is expected to top that by several feet by early next week. In April 1979, the Pearl rose to a record 43-feet, causing 15,000 evacuations and over $500 million in damages.
“Flooding is a stark reminder of how powerful Mother Nature can be,” said Greg Michel, executive director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. “It’s important to remain vigilant and stay prepared. Pay attention to weather warnings, evacuation notices, check your evacuation kits and have an evacuation plan before a disaster occurs.”
Lewis said C Spire employees and contractors, along with an extensive suite of network resources, will be on "high alert" throughout the weekend and into next week. The company is ready to activate its Emergency Response and Crisis Communications plans, which guide the use of resources and personnel and the overall response to a natural disaster.
C Spire routinely takes precautionary steps and puts restoration teams through various training and test scenarios and masses equipment and materials to protect critical network facilities and cell sites. The company uses back up batteries and diesel generators at its 1,200-plus mobile sites and switching centers and arranges for replacement fuel supplies in case normal fuel delivery options are interrupted by commercial power outages or road closures.
The company operates multiple weather-hardened “super switches” that provide added protection and service assurance for customers. The high-tech telecommunications switching facilities are designed to operate during floods and 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 destination, Lewis said. “Microwave technology can assist with communications during natural disasters when landline systems are down,” she 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 company is coordinating its emergency response efforts with local, state and federal agencies and organizations, including the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Weather Service, 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, cloud and managed IT services for businesses and enterprises. 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.