Millions are continuing to evacuate the mid-Atlantic costal region in an effort to escape Hurricane Florence. And where wireless providers are concerned, they are beginning of prep for the storm by deploying an invasion of support crew and high-tech machinery to repair and restore connectivity in the storm’s wake.
The incursion includes a diverse collection of machines to help mend the affected area’s of communications network:
- COWs (cells on wheels and wings)
- COLTs (cells on light trucks)
- CROWs (cellular repeaters on wheels)
- GOATs (generations on a trailer)
- Spiders (webs of circuitry meant to improve connectivity in places such as hotels, command centers and temporary shelters)
Other efforts to prepare before the storm include: drones to assess damage to the thousands of cell towers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia expected to be effected by the hurricane. These days the world is heavily relying on mobile. In fact wireless providers’ response has significantly grown in importance, with more than 52 percent of homes exclusively owning wireless phones, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
All the major wireless providers – AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon – are well into preparations for Hurricane Florence, forecast to hit the Carolina coasts with hurricane-force winds by Thursday morning. All four carriers will be working towards the goal of having all cell towers remaining operational throughout the duration of the storm.
Provided are a few additional ways that consumers can prepare:
- Input emergency phone numbers you might need into your mobile devices ahead of time.
- Have a family communication plan so everyone can connect and let others know they are safe.
- Make sure your devices are fully charged and you have extra batteries and car chargers on hand.
- Have plastic, resealable baggies to keep devices dry.
- Set up Wi-Fi Calling before the storm. This could allow you to make calls if they have power but no cell service.
- If you need to make a call in the wake of the storm, try to keep it short so first responders and others can get through the lines as well.
- Remember that engineers know about communications outages. Teams will get service restored as fast as possible, but flooding and downed trees can hinder that effort. Engineers will make repairs as soon as it is safe to do so.
- Use text messages whenever possible during and after a major weather event to lessen network congestion (an added plus is that texting is a lot better on your device’s battery than a call is).