JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – AT&T initiated its storm preparedness plan as Tropical Storm Sally tracks toward the Gulf Coast.

Network preparations include:

  • Topping off generators with fuel at our cell sites and switch facilities.
  • Testing high-capacity back-up batteries at cell sites.
  • Protecting our physical facilities against flooding.
  • Staging emergency response and network recovery equipment in strategic locations for quick deployment following the storm.
  • Staging dedicated FirstNet deployable network assets for use by public safety agencies on FirstNet as needed. FirstNet is the nation’s dedicated network for first responders.

AT&T encourages customers and homeowners in areas potentially affected by the storm to prepare as well. Below are communication tips to help you stay connected.

  • Save your smartphone’s battery life. In case of a power outage, extend your device’s battery life by putting it in power-save mode, turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, deleting apps, or putting your phone in Airplane Mode. This may prevent you from using certain features, but will ultimately save battery power.
  • Keep your mobile devices charged. Be sure to have another way to charge your smartphone if the power goes out. 
  • Keep your mobile devices dry. Mobile phones can be a critical lifeline during a storm. To protect yours, store it in a water-resistant case, floating waterproof case or plastic bag. A car charger or back-up battery pack can come in handy. If you have multiple devices to keep charged, consider a multi-port back-up battery pack.
  • Back up important information and protect vital documents. Back up insurance papers, medical information and the like to the Cloud or your computer. With cloud storage, you can access your data from any connected device.
  • Have a family communications plan. Choose someone out of the area as a central contact in case your family is separated. Most importantly, practice your emergency plan in advance.
  • Store emergency contacts in your mobile phone. Numbers should include the police department, fire station, hospital, and family members.
  • Forward your home number to your mobile number in the event of an evacuation. Because call forwarding is based out of the telephone central office, you will get calls from your landline phone even if your local telephone service is down. If the central office is not operational, services like voicemail and call forwarding may be useful.
  • Track the storm on your mobile device. If you lose power at your home during a storm, you can use your mobile device to access local weather reports.
  • Take advantage of the camera on your smartphone. Be sure to use the camera on your phone to take, store and send photos and video clips of damage to your insurance company.
  • Use location-based technology. These services can help you find evacuation routes and track a lost family member’s mobile phone.
  • Be prepared for high call volume and keep non-emergency calls to a minimum. If there is severe weather, chances are many people will be attempting to place calls at the same time. The increased calling volume may create network congestion. If you get a “fast busy” signal on your wireless phone or a slow dial tone on your landline phone, hang up, wait several seconds and then try again.
  • Try texting vs. calling. Because it requires fewer network resources, text messages may go through more quickly than voice calls.

AT&T will also extend relief to AT&T Wireless and AT&T PREPAID customers in areas expected to be severely impacted by Tropical Storm Sally like Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Northwest Florida. They are waiving overage charges to provide unlimited talk, text and data for AT&T wireless customers with billing addresses and AT&T PREPAID customers with phone numbers in 720 zip codes* from September 14 through September 18.

The company will automatically issue credits and waive additional service charges for AT&T wireless customers with billing addresses and AT&T PREPAID customers with phone numbers in directly impacted zip codes* at this time. Customers in these areas may still receive alerts during these dates, but accounts will reflect the credits and/or waived data, voice and text charges. View Zip Codes

Payment Flexibility for Impacted Customers

In an effort to make sure customers do not lose access to voice, internet and video capabilities during this disaster, teams will work with customers on flexible payment arrangements if they notify the company that they need assistance because of storm impacts. This begins September 15, 2020.

Video & Home Internet Customers

Additionally, affected video and home internet customers can contact AT&T at 1-800-288-2020, with questions about their service, questions about damaged equipment or to voluntarily pause their service to suspend charges. Legacy DIRECTV Customers can contact 1-800-531-5000 for questions about their service, questions about damaged equipment or to voluntarily pause their service to suspend charges.

Learn How You Can Help Those Impacted by Hurricane Sally with Text-to-Donate

·       Text “HURRICANES” to 90999  to help people affected by the Hurricane Sally in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Florida.

o   Your donation enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from these disasters. 

Statewide Accessory Offer to Keep Customers Connected

To keep our customers connected before, during, and after Hurricane Sally, AT&T is offering 25% off eligible power accessories to those across the entire state of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and parts of Northwestern Florida. This offer is valid starting September 14th at any of the company’s stores.

All this information can be found here.