2014-04-11 / Top Stories

AT&T Discusses Disaster Preparedness

Representatives from wireless carrier AT&T sat down with Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and community leaders from Southern Queens and Rockaway to discuss the carrier’s approach to disaster relief and recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy.

Hank Iori, president of the Belle Harbor Homeowners Association and Danny Ruscillo, president of the 100th Precinct Community Council, joined Goldfeder during the discussion with the cell phone company.

“Following Superstorm Sandy, in addition to the physical destruction, thousands across Southern Queens and Rockaway were left without cellular service or means of communication,” Goldfeder said. “I applaud AT&T for being the first carrier to respond to our concerns and taking steps to ensure our families are able to communicate in the wake of disaster.”

Earlier this year, Goldfeder sent a letter to the biggest cell phone providers throughout New York City, including, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, asking for updates on their upgrades, resiliency measures and future storm contingency plans. In his letter, Goldfeder invited companies to meet to discuss their upgrades and requested each company discuss the changes they have made after Sandy to prepare for future emergencies and how they intend to help customers in the wake of another disaster.

“During any major storm event, it is essential that cellular towers stay equipped to provide communications to those impacted,” Iori said. “After Hurricane Sandy, all communications were down in Rockaway. All essential communications stopped. We appreciate AT&T’s effort to begin the conversation with us and we look forward to following their progress on this matter to keep our communities safe.”

“After meeting with AT&T, it is my hope that their company now understands the needs of our community and responds quicker when it comes to any emergency like Superstorm Sandy,” Ruscillo said. “As we all know, communication during the storm was a dangerous problem. I want to thank Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder for arranging this very important meeting.”

“We have been through enough after Superstorm Sandy and cannot wait for another disaster to take action,” Goldfeder said. “I look forward to working with AT&T and urge all other cell phone providers to follow in their footsteps and meet with our community to hear our concerns.”

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