Public Safety

AT&T is the only telecommunications company with a disaster response program certified by the Department of Homeland Security

AT&T is committed to keeping its customers connected during the upcoming hurricane season – before, during and after storms. We have one of the industry’s largest and most advanced continuity and disaster response programs to make sure our networks stay up and running.

We’re prepared with a fleet of equipment ready for deployment, including hundreds of technology recovery and support trailers. We invested over $600 million in our Network Disaster Recovery program (NDR).

We’re increasing our NDR fleet with new deployables to support first responders as part of our public-private partnership to deliver FirstNet’s nationwide public safety broadband network.

AT&T will have more than over 700 pieces of equipment, including our Cell on Wheels (COWs), Cell on Light Trucks (COLTs), trailers, generators and more available to maintain our network and benefit the first responders who use our network.

The NDR team is also looking to use Flying COWs (Cell on Wings) in the future to provide emergency cell coverage for first responders and the public if our network is damaged during a storm. We could one day send a Flying COW into areas where flooded roadways might prevent a traditional COW (Cell on Wheels) from being deployed.

AT&T is the only telecom company to recently become re-certified under new international standards (ISO 22301) by the Department of Homeland Security for the disaster preparedness program.

Our NDR team recently completed its 77th full-field recovery exercise this year. The AT&T Global Network Operations Center monitors our networks 24/7. Since forming in 1991, the NDR has responded to more than 70 events in the U.S.

Response equipment readied in the wake of an event includes:

  • Mobile cell sites and mobile command centers.
  • Emergency communications vehicles.
  • A self-sufficient base camp.
  • Hazmat equipment and supplies.
  • Technology and support trailers to provide infrastructure support and mobile heating ventilation and air conditioning.
  • Internal and external resources for initial assessment and recovery efforts.

FirstNet Public-Private Infrastructure Investment Helps Law Enforcement, EMS, Firefighters & PSAPS Keep America Safe

AT&T has been selected by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to build and manage the first broadband network dedicated to America’s police, firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS). FirstNet will cover all 50 states, 5 U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, including rural communities and tribal lands in those states and territories. Through this new public-private partnership with FirstNet, AT&T will deliver a dedicated, interoperable network and ecosystem that will give first responders the technology they need to better communicate and collaborate across agencies and jurisdictions – local, state and national.


FirstNet’s powerful broadband LTE network allows first responders to send and receive data, video, images, and text—without concerns about network congestion. FirstNet offers priority and “ruthless preemption” when it is needed.


FirstNet is a nationwide network that provides highly secure, reliable, interoperable communication between agencies, empowering information sharing across disciplines and jurisdictions, facilitating a dramatic increase in situational awareness.


FirstNet fosters an ecosystem of innovation, enabling the delivery of actionable data through public safety applications and devices, giving first responders advanced technologies they need to help save lives and keep communities safe.

In addition to creating a nationwide efficient , IP-based, high-speed mobile communications network that will give first responders priority access, the network will help:

  • Improve rescue and recovery operations to help keep first responders out of harm’s way.
  • Help connect first responders to the critical information they need in an emergency.
  • Further the development of public safety focused IoT and Smart City solutions such as providing near real-time information on traffic conditions to determine the fastest route to an emergency.
  • Enable advanced capabilities, like wearable sensors and cameras, and camera-equipped robots that can deliver near real-time images of events.

 Hurricanes Harvey, Irma & Maria Response

AT&T’s Hurricane Harvey deployments:

  • Before the storm hit, we readied NDR resources including 14 satellite Cell on Light Trucks (SatCOLTs), 5 Emergency Communications Vehicles (ECVs), 4 charging stations, and a mobile command center.
  • We also had 17 portable cell sites, 4 charging stations, 5 emergency communication vehicles, 39 team members in the field, 1 special operations/hazmat response truck, and 5 technology recovery and support trailers deployed in the affected areas.
  • NDR assets provided service for emergency management officials, first responders, and customers in affected areas.
  • We set up two supply stations in South Texas for affected employees and victims. Bottled water, blankets, flashlights and batteries were available. Employees were equipped with fuel stations and charging stations.
  • Deployed more than 40 drones to survey impacted areas and assess network damage. By using drones, we were able to more efficiently determine which areas were safe for our crews to go into and what equipment was needed.

AT&T’s Hurricane Irma deployments:

  • Before the storm hit, we staged emergency response equipment in strategic locations across the areas expected to be affected.
  • Deployed 14 Cell on Light Trucks (COLTs) and 1 Cell on Wheels (COW), and 3 Emergency Communications Vehicles (ECVs).
  • More than 3K recovery team members were deployed to impacted areas for recovery and restoration efforts.
  • Readied more than 50 drones to survey and assess network impact. Readied more than 50 drones to survey and assess network impact.

AT&T’s Hurricane Maria deployments:

  • The first time an LTE cell site on a drone was successfully deployed to connect residents after a disaster.
  • Teams continue to work around the clock to help restore our network and deploy additional assets in impacted areas in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • We realigned a satellite dedicated to DIRECTV Latin America to provide additional satellite connectivity to Puerto Rico for cellular communications.
  • We continue to use portable satellite units at the base of clusters of cell towers to support more than 20 sites.
  • To read more about our Flying COW in Puerto Rico, check out this blog.

Download our FirstNet One Pager.
Download our Hurricanes Harvey, Irma & Maria Response One Pager.
Download our Disaster Recovery One Pager.