Hurricanes: Preparation, Response, and Free Emergency Communications
Once again, we’re reminded of nature’s catastrophic force. Over 30,000 people have fled Houston due to Hurricane Harvey, the first major hurricane to make landfall in Texas in nearly 60 years. Thousands still have not been able to return to their homes and businesses. The region experienced over 50 inches of rainfall in one week alone, the equivalent of 33 trillion gallons of water. An estimated $190 billion in damage has been caused, making Harvey the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. In its wake is Hurricane Irma, the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic, set to blow through the Caribbean Islands, Puerto Rico and potentially the U.S. southeast coast and Gulf Coast in the coming days.
These back-to-back tragedies are indescribable, yet they illustrate the relentless bravery and compassion of countless individuals. These unsung heroes prove that ordinary people can do extraordinary things, no matter the level of distress. We’ve seen people come together to form human chains to rescue residents from homes and cars. Business owners are turning storefronts into secure shelters for hundreds. Thousands of volunteers continue to wade through high waters to save abandoned pets and livestock. These are leaders, advocates and change-makers. These are the people who stand up, show up and make a difference. We’re proud to say that these are the people of Avaya.
The effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are devastating, but there’s endless heart behind the hurt. As we have so many times before, Avaya stands in solidarity with all of those affected by these events. Not only do we extend our deepest thoughts and condolences, but we’ve got countless boots on the ground to help lighten the burden of those who have been impacted.
Stepping up and Stepping Out
Avaya team members nationwide are proactively responding to Harvey and its continuing aftermath in Texas and Louisiana. And now with the imminent arrival of Hurricane Irma, this same team has picked up even more members to prepare our customers and partners with the best information available. This team consists of leads for communications, field response, customer offers, philanthropy, parts readiness, and tiger teams focused on customers and partners.
We’d be remiss to not acknowledge the incredible work of Avaya employees who have been volunteering as part of rescue efforts. These are just a few of those making an impact:
- Roger Mitchell of channel sales is currently acting as part of the Cajun Navy, a Louisiana-based army of volunteer rescuers with over 100 boats and pickups, helping thousands of displaced Texans. Along with Cajun Navy Captain Lee Mouk, Mitchell has helped rescue children and parents stranded in their apartments for days. Survivors were ferried down Westheimer Parkway, a thoroughfare being used as a staging area for emergency operations. “People need help, and we have the resources and ability to assist them,” Mitchell said. “It’s about coming together and doing what we can. We all have a responsibility to reach out.”
- Greg Emerson, Account Manager for Avaya Government Solutions, is working with FEMA to quickly provide additional software licenses and conference bridges so the disaster agency can efficiently respond to those impacted.
- Abhishek Bansal of services also played an instrumental role in restoring communications for National Flood Services, the insurance company supporting the intake of claims for Hurricane Harvey.
Protect Yourself and Your Business
As a hurricane’s path may change, we encourage you to stay informed of the forecast and to follow recommendations issued by local authorities. This important preparedness information that may be helpful:
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hurricane Preparedness Guide
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hurricane Preparedness Guide
- Additional information from the National Hurricane Center
As Hurricane Irma approaches, we want you to know that the Avaya team is by your side and available to help now and after the storm passes. Avaya Global Support Services Center representatives are highly experienced and standing by to help answer questions about your systems architecture, back-up service, and data protection, or to help you order parts for immediate delivery.
Visit Support.Avaya.comfor preparedness information pertaining to your Avaya systems, including step-by-step instructions. For recovery information or post-hurricane service/support, contact us at 1-800-242-2121.
For the most current information on the status of Hurricane Irma and information on precautions you and your family can take in advance, please refer to the FEMA website and tune into local weather and news channels.
We recommend reviewing these six steps, available on Avaya’s support website, as a helpful reminder for final preparations:
- Save translations before the emergency event impacts the site. This will protect recent changes from being lost and ensure speed restoration in the event of system damage.
- Review safety procedures with all employees prior to the emergency event if possible, and ensure an updated contact list for keeping in touch.
- Secure back-up media so that translations won’t become lost or damaged (thus, delaying service restoration). Take a copy of back-ups and any other information off-site.
- Print and store a current list configuration of key solutions. If a new system is necessary, this simple precaution will save time in starting the process.
- Consider powering your system down before the emergency event impacts the site. Electrical power surges both before and after an emergency event can pose the greatest threat to your system.
- Contemplate moving switches/applications if the site is located in an area that may be exposed to damage from the emergency.
Here are more resources for protecting your communications investment and sustaining connectivity throughout the hurricane. We recommend that you print this information, as well as phone numbers.
- Prepare and Recover your Communications Network in the event of a Disruption
- Preparing Your Communications Network – Emergency Preparedness for your Communications Network
- Event Preparation
- Damage Assessment
- Post Emergency Event Review
- Related Business Continuity Planning
- Alone in the Silence: Communication – The Real Disaster Priority
- Avaya Remote Back-Up Offer
- Power Outage Procedures
Free Offer for Emergency Communications via the Cloud
Continued communications are essential to the lifeblood of a company. But many companies and their employees have had their service interrupted or cannot come to the office to work. Avaya and Zang would like to help by offering to provide both Zang™ Spaces and Zang™ Office free for 90 days to affected individuals and companies. This offer is available for all residents and businesses in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, and the Carolinas. (A billing address within these U.S. states is required. The offer is not available in the Caribbean at this time.)
Zang Office is a complete cloud-based phone service that’s reliable and very simple to set up. It includes every feature you need to continue your business communications. Your business communications aren’t tethered to your physical office.
Zang Spaces is a cloud-based team collaboration and meeting app that lets you conduct team or customer meetings just like everyone was face to face in the office. Just open a web browser and go to the Zang site to sign up now before Irma impacts your communications.
From the Avaya family to yours, stay safe and take all necessary precautions to maximize protection now and during any emergency event. We stand with you.