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New AT&T Survey Shows Most Atlantic Hurricane Area Residents Are More Prepared Today for a Natural Disaster, But More Than One-Third Admit They Lack Plans to Communicate


AT&T’s Vital Connections Web Site Provides Free Tools and New Readiness Assessment Tool to Assist Consumers and Business Owners for Emergency Communications Preparations

San Antonio, Texas, August 25, 2006 - With the heart of hurricane season approaching, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) announced that a Gulf Coast regional survey on disaster preparedness revealed that more than 80 percent of Americans living in the region were impacted by last year’shurricanes. Today, 85 percent say that they have an emergency plan in place. And, while more than half (59 percent) have an emergency communications plan ready, more than a third (39 percent) say they don’t. AT&T is providing new online tools for planning at

The study found that 80 percent of those polled agree that it is extremely important to be prepared in the event of a natural disaster, and 56 percent are more prepared for a natural disaster than they were last year. Yet, more than 35 percent of respondents said they are not confident that they will be able to find a way to communicate with friends and family in an emergency.

When asked what technologies they would have at their disposal to use if either a home phone or wireless phone were not accessible during a natural disaster, respondents named voice mailbox as their No. 1 choice (54 percent), followed by wireless phone with instant messaging (44 percent), Wi-Fi access or a wireless Internet connection (38 percent) and prepaid long distance phone cards (38 percent).

When asked what communications tools are essential for respondents to maintain and use in a disaster, the following topped the list: phone numbers for all key contacts (73percent), car charger for wireless phone (71 percent), noncordless phone to plug in to landline if electricity fails (60 percent) and an extra wireless phone battery (46 percent).

When seeking information and guidance, nearly 90 percent of the respondents cited television and radio as key sources for information. Eighty-five percent listed local, state and federal government officials as sources for how to prepare for a disaster. And more than 55 percent of the respondents cited weather and news organizations.

New AT&T Survey Shows Need for Emergency Communications Plans

Additional key findings show that 90 percent of the respondents feel that they are informed about the types of potential disasters that could affect their area and know the appropriate actions to take. More than 60 percent have identified potential shelters for evacuation purposes. And nearly 70 percent said they have practiced their emergency plan.

“When it comes to disaster preparedness, there is no such thing as being too prepared,” said Tim Harden, president-Network Services for AT&T’s Southwest region. “The results of our survey indicate, for the most part, that Americans in the hurricane-prone Gulf Coast are prepared for future natural disasters. However, we continue to urge every person to maintain an emergency supply kit, create an emergency communications plan and take the time to sit down with their loved ones at least once a year to discuss what to do in case of an emergency.”

The survey also found that accessing online information was the most popular choice (44 percent) among respondents when asked where to research an emergency preparedness plan. To assist consumers in developing a disaster preparedness communications plan, AT&T has created the Web site, which provides a new 10-question assessment tool that gauges a person’s disaster preparedness level, as well as a number of tips. It also provides a handbook and planning resources for businesses.

Tips for Developing an Emergency Communications Plan

Whether family members are at work or school, in the same home or geographically separated, AT&T reminds consumers to be AWARE — Always Watchful, Alert and Ready in an Emergency — with tips for developing an emergency communications plan, such as:

Create a Plan.Develop an emergency communications plan, including communications methods and individuals to call. Post it on the refrigerator, keep a copy with emergency supplies and provide copies to each family member.

Prepare for the Worst-Case Scenario. During natural disasters, such as hurricanes or flooding, wireline services can be interrupted for extended periods of time because of damage caused by high winds or flooding. Wireless phones may serve as alternative means of communication.

Conduct an Inventory. Review existing communications devices and determine whether family members would benefit by adding any services or phones that enable everyone to stay connected.

AT&T Survey Shows Need for Emergency Communications

Plans/Add Two Have a Backup Phone. Be sure that you have at least one corded telephone that is not dependent on electricity in case of an electrical power outage. Cordless telephones usually have receivers that are electrically charged, and thus will not work if there is a power outage. Consider keeping a basic hard-wired phone and a wireless phone on hand for emergencies to enable communication with safety officials and loved ones, even when the power is out.

Compile Vital Information and Equip Family Members. Create a communications safety tool box, which includes a prioritized list (both electronic and hard copy) of phone numbers and e-mail addresses for family members, copies of business cards and personal documents such as passports and copies of birth certificates. Also, make sure that you have easy access to emergency phone numbers such as local hospitals, your personal doctor and your home insurance agent, by programming numbers into your wireless phone.

Create IDs. Create photo IDs for every family member using the template available on

Know Where to Meet. Agree on a physical and virtual meeting place such as a voice mailbox or online chat site.

Practical Wireless Phone Tips:

* Familiarize yourself with the text-messaging capabilities of your phone. Text messages will often go through quicker than voice calls duringan emergency situation.
* Program all of your emergency contact numbers into your wireless phone, including the police department, fire station and hospital, as well as your family members.
* Keep your wireless phone batteries charged at all times.
* Have an alternate plan to recharge your battery in case of power outages (e.g., charging via your car charger, extra wireless phone batteries, use of a disposable wireless phone battery).
* Keep your wireless phone dry. The biggest threat to your device during a hurricane is water, so keep your equipment safe from the elements.
* Forward your home number to your wireless number in the event of an evacuation. Since call forwarding is based out of the telephone central office, you will get incoming calls from your landline phone, even if your local telephone service is disrupted at your home. In the unlikely event that the central office is offline, call forwarding may not work.
* Keep nonemergency calls to a minimum.

AT&T Survey Shows Need for Emergency Communications Plans

* When using a wireless phone, wait 10 seconds beforeredialing a call. This should alleviate some stress to the network. If calls do not immediately connect or if you hear a fast busy signal, try again in a few minutes.
* Use your wireless phone to access weather and news updates.
* Use your camera phone to snap, store and send photos of damaged property to your insurance company.

Be Radio-Ready. Make sure that you have a working, battery-operated radio. The radio can keep you up to date on the latest weather reports, public safety issues and evacuation notices.

This survey was sponsored by AT&T to gather insights into how consumers in Atlantic hurricane-affected areas prepare for disasters. The survey was conducted by Western Wats through a telephone poll that took place between Aug. 9 and 14, 2006. Western Wats polled adult consumers (18 years of age and older) inhurricane-affected counties within four states along the Gulf Coast (Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas).

(The counties selected were those that, according to the Federal Emergency Management Association, received individual and public financial assistance as a result of a severe hurricane in the past decade.) Participants’ results for the AT&T Disaster Preparedness Poll are based on responses from 400 adults who live in these areas. For this sample of 400, the margin of error because of sampling is plus or minus three to five percentage points at a 95 percent confidence interval.

For more information on the AT&T Disaster Survey, including the complete report, visit

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About AT&T Inc.
AT&T Inc. is one of the world’s largest telecommunications holding companies and is the largest in the United States. Operating globally under the AT&T brand, AT&T companies are recognized as the leading worldwide providers of IP-based communications services to business and as leading U.S. providers of high speed DSL Internet, local and long distance voice, and directory publishing and advertising services. AT&T Inc. holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, which is the No. 1 U.S. wireless services provider with 57.3 million wireless customers.

© 2006 AT&T Knowledge Ventures. All rights reserved. Subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc.provide products and services under the AT&T brand.


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