TSTT Hurricane Preparedness Plan

TSTT has activated its hurricane preparedness plan in order to be able to quickly restore vital telecommunication links in the event of a hurricane.

The plan covers many areas of the company’s operations and apart from the usual 24 hour monitoring of its networks, includes key activities such as:

· Weekly testing and topping up the fuel of stand-by generators at TSTT Exchanges (which switch all network traffic). · Stocking emergency boxes with foodstuff, water and hardware items at work sites throughout T&T (allowing workers to live on site if necessary). · Establishing shelters for the families of TSTT employees who are required to respond to emergencies such as natural disasters. · Briefing members of the Emergency Response and Recovery teams on roles and responsibilities and testing the emergency call-out procedures.

Randall Mohammed, TSTT’s Manager Risk Administration, said many utility workers in Grenada were understandably preoccupied with looking after the welfare of their families following Hurricane Ivan and were not available to assist with critical restoration efforts. To help avoid such a situation here, Mohammed explained, TSTT has adopted a pro-active approach and arranged to house the families of those employees required to respond to an emergency. This will give the workers some peace of mind as they help restore the telecommunications service to customers who may be affected across the country.

“At the end of the day in such emergencies, people are critical to the recovery process,” he remarked.

In the event of an official hurricane warning, TSTT will activate a Central Command Centre and three District Command Centres (North and South Trinidad & Tobago). These centres will be manned by a cross-section of TSTT personnel who will be on stand-by, along with equipment and vehicles.

“This will allow TSTT to initiate a quick response from multiple areas once given the all-clear to begin physical damage assessment and restoration of service,” Mohammed said. He added that staff at the command centres would also monitor TSTT’s network for damage and prioritise repairs.

Further, taking a lesson from the surge in its network traffic following the September 29 earthquake in T&T last year, TSTT has built in more congestion controls. This, coupled with the level of redundancy in TSTT’s network, adds to its reliability, according to Mohammed.

“The objective is to minimise downtime and that’s why it’s important to have a plan that can be put into effect at a moment’s notice,” Mohammed concluded.