Coming off an earthquake communications logjam and facing another major test this weekend, the nation’s top wireless companies are making preparations to deal with any infrastructure damage they might suffer from Hurricane Irene.
Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile all have generators, sandbags and crisis teams in place to deal with damage their networks may suffer as a result of the storm.
The companies are also set to deploy mobile cell sites to cover areas in the event of network outages.
But that won’t account for another onslaught of calls that could trip up networks and bring communications to a standstill.
All the major carriers have provided tips on how customers can decrease pressure on cellular networks in the case of a crisis situation.
In addition to keeping devices charged and dry, customers are also being encouraged to text instead of call in case of disaster, since text messages use significantly less data to transmit. T-Mobile is encouraging its customers to use the WiFi calling feature available on many of its Android phones as well.
AT&T and Verizon are also encouraging small business and residential customers to forward their home numbers to their mobile phones in case of an evacuation.