Wednesday, May 25, 2005

BellSouth is Prepared for 2005 Hurricane Season

Source: PR Newswire

In 2004, BellSouth maintained service in every one of its central offices during the onslaught of four hurricanes over the span of six weeks. Nearly one year later, the company has enhanced its emergency preparedness plans to produce a network and legion of employees that are even better equipped to weather the 2005 hurricane season.

"BellSouth has one of the most advanced, reliable and resilient networks in the world," said Rod Odom, president of network services - BellSouth. "Our customers can trust that, in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster, BellSouth will be there to keep them connected and maintain the quality of service they have come to expect from this company."

BellSouth has emergency preparedness plans in place to ensure that it responds quickly to a natural disaster. BellSouth has incorporated enhanced tracking technologies into its planning process to more effectively forecast impacts of a storm to its network. BellSouth's priorities during and after a natural disaster are to provide back-up to its network in affected areas and to quickly and effectively initiate recovery efforts.

BellSouth provides back-up to critical areas of its network in the event of a commercial power outage through batteries and diesel-powered electric generators that are either permanently installed in facilities or stored in warehouses across the Southeast. In addition, BellSouth has more than one thousand portable generators on standby, ready to be loaded and transported to an area hit by a storm.

BellSouth also provides back-up using technology that instantaneously re- routes communications through its network in the event of an outage.

As the recovery process begins, BellSouth employees work tirelessly to restore service and repair damaged facilities, often with the help of loaned technicians from other regions and telecommunications companies. In 2004, more than 1,300 technicians were loaned to aid in BellSouth's restoration efforts.

BellSouth offers customers several tips to stay safe and connected before, during and after a hurricane or other natural disaster:


Before the Storm:

- BellSouth has compiled a list of emergency contact information on its Web site at http://www.bellsouthcorp.com/emergency. During a hurricane or other severe storm, BellSouth will update the site with status information on the BellSouth network.
- Check out the Community Information Pages in local editions of The Real Yellow Pages® from BellSouth. The section includes critical information for hurricane and severe weather planning, surviving and recovery. The Severe Weather Planner can also be found online at
www.realpageslive.com.
- Designate a friend or family member outside the storm area as a central contact and plan for everyone in your family to contact that person to relay status and location information.
- Ensure that your home and business are equipped with the proper telephone services to re-route communications in the event of a service interruption. BellSouth offers products like BellSouth® Voice Mail, CrisisLink(SM), Remote Access Call Forwarding, Call Forwarding Don't Answer and Call Forwarding Busy Line.
- Make sure that your cordless and wireless phones all work properly and are charged and that batteries and car chargers are available.
- Make sure that you have at least one traditional wireline telephone, as cordless phones will not function in the event of a power outage.
- Program all emergency contact numbers into your Cingular Wireless® phone. Make sure that everyone in your family has the home, work and cell numbers of family members, friends and co-workers with whom they will want to communicate.
- Consider additional cell phones for your family's use or for storage in your safe room/basement. The Cingular® Family Talk and Prepaid plans offer great options for staying in touch during an emergency.
- Consider downloading new tools that will give you the latest weather forecasts and traffic updates. Cingular offers tools such as My-Cast Weather, available for download at www.cingular.com/media, to help you stay up-to-date over your wireless device.

During the Storm:

- Use your phone for necessary calls only, leaving lines open for emergencies.
- During a power outage, your phone line may be inoperable if your cordless phone, caller ID unit or other telephone equipment requires external power. Plug a non-electrical telephone directly into a phone jack to verify if you have service.
- During extremely high calling volume periods, you may experience a slow dial tone. If you don't hear a dial tone immediately when you pick up your phone, wait a few seconds or hang up and try your call again later.
- Consider short/text messaging service (SMS) as a communications alternative. Sending a text message requires less signal strength and can be a fast and effective alternative to voice calls during an emergency.

After the Storm:

- Expect delays in getting calls through because of high demand for service.
- It is still a crisis situation - keep your calls short to allow emergency calls to get through.

To request residential repair when calling:

- From a BellSouth phone - dial 611
- From wireless or non-BellSouth phone or outside of Florida - 1.800.432.1424
- In Spanish from a BellSouth phone - 1.888.707.2840
- In Spanish from wireless or non-BellSouth phone or outside of Florida - 1.800.828.4652

To request business repair when calling:

- From a BellSouth phone - 1.866.620.6900
- From wireless or non-BellSouth phone or outside of Florida - 1.800.252.0803

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