September marks National Preparedness Month. During the month, people nationwide are urged to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies.

During emergencies, networks are lifelines that help keep first-responders connected to mobilize resources and to conduct critical search-and-rescue operations. When disaster strikes, AT&T network teams are on the ground as quickly as possible – with logistical, technical, and command support from other remote team members – ensuring that network disruptions are minimized.

For example, AT&T’s Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) team has conducted exercises in the field, in real-world conditions, since the program was founded in 1992. The exercises fully test the recovery equipment, in transit and once set up on site – and test the team’s recovery processes. The drills have allowed the team to reveal and resolve issues that would not present themselves during warehouse or tabletop exercises.

This month, the NDR team will conduct a technology recovery exercise for the first time in Portland, Oregon. This will be the team’s 70th full field technology recovery exercise.

While emergencies are impossible to predict, they are essential to anticipate. Here are a few disaster preparedness tips to protect you and your business:

  • Set up a call-forwarding service to a predetermined backup location. Set up a single or multiple hotline number(s) for employees, employees’ families, customers and partners, as appropriate, to call so that all parties hknow about the business situation and emergency plan. For this to be most effective, maintain an updated contact list, including mobile and home phone numbers and e-mail addresses, for all employees.
  • Protect hardware/software/data records/employee records, etc. Routinely back up these files to an off-site location. Use a generator for supplying backup power to vital computer hardware and other mission-critical equipment. Prearrange the replacement of damaged hardware with vendors to ensure quick business recovery.
  • Outline detailed plans for evacuation and shelter-in-place plans. Practice these plans (employee training, etc.). Establish a backup location for your business and meeting place for all employees.
  • Assemble a crisis-management team and coordinate efforts with neighboring businesses and building management. Be aware that disasters affecting your suppliers also affect your business. Outline a plan for supply chain continuity for business essentials.
  • Consider a back-up cellular network. Services like AT&T Remote Mobility Zone, allows organizations to protect their critical communications by installing small cell sites at the businesses’ locations.  If a disaster disables primary communications networks, the back-up cellular network can help keep your company connected.
Just as we prepare our networks and personnel, businesses are encouraged to consider these recommendations to remain vigilante in the wake of a disaster. For more information and tips on disaster preparedness visit http://www.att.com/vitalconnections.