Provider suggests key readiness steps and offers telecommunication tips for emergencies
Ridgeland, Mississippi (September 15, 2020) – With Hurricane Sally gradually weakening in the Gulf of Mexico but moving closer to the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coast, C Spire is offering consumers and business in storm-prone areas some important emergency reminders and tips on using essential communications before, during and after any tropical cyclone.
Company officials deployed a CoLT (cell on light truck) to the Mississippi Gulf Coast on Highway 67 over the weekend to support state and local emergency response efforts, topped off generators with fuel at cell sites and switching facilities, tested high-capacity back up batteries at cell sites and sandbagged several sites to protect them from flooding.
Hurricane Sally is expected to make landfall near the Mississippi-Alabama border early Wednesday as a slow-moving but powerful Category 1 tropical cyclone packing winds up to 100 mph, storm surge of up to 7 feet and rainfall that could top 24 inches in some hard-hit areas.
“With millions of people living in hurricane-prone coastal areas, we can’t afford to let our guard down,” said C Spire CTO Carla Lewis. “It’s not too late for individuals, families and businesses to prepare their emergency plans, create emergency supply kits, heed local evacuation orders and familiarize themselves with evacuation routes.”
In conjunction with state and federal hurricane season preparedness efforts, C Spire is offering consumers and businesses the following tips and advice to keep them updated on essential communications:
Consumer Tips - Before the Storm
- Charge your primary wireless phone battery and secure back-up batteries and a vehicle charger in a dry, accessible location. Use waterproof accessories or simple zip-lock storage bags to protect devices.
- Take photographs and videos of all your important possessions with a camera or video and send them to your email address. If a hurricane damages your home or property, these items will help you file your wind or flood insurance claim.
- Consider storing important documents and personal items in a storage facility away from the threat of any major storm, wind or water damage. Take photos for your records and store on a portable drive or cloud-based service.
- Plan and practice a hurricane evacuation route with your family and leave immediately when directed by local authorities.
- Designate an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as your family contact person and make sure everyone in your family knows the contact person’s name, address and phone number. Text or email the contact information with your phone or computer.
- Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers for police, fire, rescue agencies, power companies, insurance providers and family, friends and co-workers and program them into your phone or email address book.
- Give your emergency contact information to those who may need it, including neighbors, family and friends.
- Track wind and storm surge information through the web browser on your laptop, tablet or mobile phone.
- Prepare an emergency supply kit with items, including a flashlight and battery-powered radio with extra batteries, canned and non-perishable food, bottled water, toiletry items, pet food and supplies, medicine and prescription medication and copies of important family papers and documents.
- Download free weather and safety-related applications like The Weather Channel, FEMA and the National Weather Service for smartphones, tablets and other devices.
Consumer Tips - During and After the Storm
- Use a battery-operated weather radio to get the latest storm information.
- Limit travel in hurricane-prone areas, which should be closed, and use extreme caution. Do not drive through flooded roadways or attempt to cross flowing streams.
- Place voice calls only when necessary. Limit your personal calls so that capacity is available for 9-1-1 calls and other emergency responders. When possible, send text messages instead of placing voice calls. Text messages require less network capacity and are more likely than voice calls to reach their destination during periods of network congestion.
- Charge your mobile phone in your car during commercial power outages. If a car charger is unavailable, buy an AC adapter for your vehicle so you can use your wall charger.
- Turn backlight down on your mobile phone to the minimum levels to conserve battery life. When the battery is extremely low, turn phone off unless in use.
- Use a camera on your mobile phone to document damage to your personal property, home or business and use picture and video messaging to send them to insurance agents or other contacts.
Business Tips – Before, During and After the Storm
- Set up call forwarding to an alternate location as a hotline for employees, their families, customers, vendors and suppliers to call for updates on your business status and emergency planning.
- Maintain an updated employee contact list, including home and cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
- Protect mission-critical data, hardware and records by periodically backing up files to an off-site location. Use a generator as backup power for computer hardware and other essential equipment. To aid a prompt business recovery, have a plan ready to implement for replacement of damaged hardware.
- Train employees on evacuation and shelter plans. Establish a backup location for your business and an employee assembly point.
- Use a crisis-management team to coordinate efforts with nearby businesses and building management. Develop and implement a plan for supply chain continuity for essential elements of your business.
“The bottom line is preparation,” Lewis said. “While weather professionals continue to improve the accuracy of their hurricane forecasts, individuals, businesses and communities need to work together to develop and implement comprehensive plans to effectively prepare for, respond to and recover from severe weather events.”
The company is coordinating its emergency response efforts with local, state and federal agencies and organizations, including the emergency response agencies in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, 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 privately-held telecommunications and technology company driven to deliver the best experiences in wireless, fiber internet, and business IT solutions such as internet, VoIP, cloud and managed services. Read more news releases and announcements at cspire.com/news. For more information, visit cspire.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.