Carriers prepare for winter storm 'Nemo,' offer tips to the snowed in

Nemo winter storm outage
Freezing Nemo

As the entire northeast of the U.S. hunkers down for the massive snowstorm "Nemo" this weekend, top wireless carriers are reassuring customers of each firm's extreme weather preparedness.

AT&T said that it is ready to respond quickly "with an arsenal of disaster response equipment and personnel on standby as a major winter storm nears."

The nation's largest carrier said it topped off fuel generators, installed and tested high-capacity backup batteries, and staged additional emergency response equipment in strategic locations.

"With a storm of this magnitude, we may have some outages. But if service goes down, we'll do all we can to get it back up as fast as possible."

Verizon, T-Mobile also on path of preparedness

Likewise, Verizon promised that its "networks are ready to serve customers as winter storm Nemo bears down on the Northeast, from New Jersey to New England."

It has a disaster recovery fleet of emergency vehicles at the ready, including a 51-foot mobile command center, two 53-foot mobile emergency calling centers, and satellite trailers.

"If commercial power fails," said Verizon, "backup batteries and generators in the company's switching centers, and other facilities keep power flowing so the company's networks can continue to deliver services to customers."

T-Mobile also echoed those plans in a press release that said its "engineers and rapid response teams are taking preparations to safeguard our network."

Tips for winter snowstorm Nemo

The three networks, in addition to issuing press releases about general Nemo preparedness, tacked on a couple of tips for customers.

The company's emphasized having all wireless phone batteries charged in case of power outages, and to develop a family communication plan in advance and use text messages over phone calls.

"Text messages may go through more quickly than voice calls because they require fewer network resources," said AT&T, adding the broken record, "Depending on your text or data plan, additional charges may apply."

These are tips that many customers in the Northeast learned the hard way less than four months ago when Hurricane Sandy knocked out service to the top carriers.

A sign of the storm's severity came from Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who issued a vehicle ban in the state.

Believed to be the first such ban in 25 years, it only reemphasizes the need to keep cell phones charged in case you are stuck at home for several days.

Matt Swider