AT&T Leads Technology Recovery Exercise in Downtown Los Angeles

20th anniversary exercise tests Network Disaster Recovery team's capabilities

Los Angeles, California, October 18, 2012

Earthquakes, fires, floods, even man-made disasters – while it sounds like something straight out of a Hollywood movie, catastrophic events do happen, and Los Angeles residents have seen their share. AT&T* recognizes the importance of reliable communication during a disaster and that’s why the company’s Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) organization will conduct a technology recovery exercise, October 19-25 in downtown Los Angeles.

 A total of 26 pieces of recovery equipment will be on-hand, filling most of the Staples Center’s parking lot. In addition, 70-plus NDR team members from across the U.S. are travelling to LA to participate on site. The LA exercise has added significance as it marks the 20th anniversary of AT&T’s NDR team.  In its two decades of service, the team has been deployed more than 70 times – including recent deployments for Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana and the Colorado wildfires.  One of the team’s earliest deployments was for the 1994 earthquake in Northridge, Calif.

“We chose LA for this exercise, in part, to help local and regional first responders understand NDR’s role in restoring communications for an area impacted by a disaster,” said Mark Francis, VP, Network Operations. ”NDR exercises are a global effort – they are conducted in the United States and abroad to maintain the readiness of the team and its equipment.”

NDR exercises are designed to test AT&T's ability to respond to a disaster impacting a telecommunications central office. The drills include establishing emergency communications channels from the site – using equipment such as Emergency Communications Vehicles, satellite COLTs (Cell on Light Trucks), and microwave radio links. 

The LA exercise also includes classroom and hands-on training for NDR’s hazmat responders and will demonstrate the team’s readiness with, equipment, processes, technology recovery, and emergency communications. 

“AT&T’s ability to maintain or recover its own business operations in the face of a natural, man-made, or cyber emergency is vital to our customers who depend on reliable communications during and after emergencies – we take this responsibility very seriously,” Francis said.

The event marks the NDR team’s 67th full technical recovery exercise conducted in the field since the inception of its Network Disaster Recovery program in 1992. Guided tours will highlight how the technology and equipment work from the inside while NDR team members manage events and work with first responders – beginning the restoration process. The exercises culminate with the technical functions of each of AT&T’s state-of-the-art trailers coordinating to reach full recovery.

AT&T has invested more than $600 million in its U.S. NDR program and another $15 million internationally. Team members have spent more than 125,000 working hours on field exercises and deployments over the last two decades. AT&T is the first company nationwide to receive United States Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Private Sector Preparedness Program (PS-Prep) certification.

For more information about AT&T’s NDR program, please visit the Network Disaster Recovery page.