November to March each year is typically peak season for Telstra’s Operations team. This is because this is the time of the year when our field crews and support teams can find themselves managing a variety of major, customer-impacting events caused by cyclones, bushfires, flooding, lightning strike, and whatever else mother nature has in store for us.
Keeping connected, something most of us take for granted during the best of times; is of utmost importance during the worst of times. And our Ops team have the skill, experience and knowledge to deal with whatever peak season throws our way. We have a well-proven, solid peak load strategy to back us up.
Our strategy is based on five R’s; Ready, Respond, Restore, Repair and Reconstruct. Here, within this Blog, I’ll focus on Telstra Operations’ ‘Ready’ or preparation phase.
When preparing for peak load weather, the Operations teams’ preparations cover their people, customers, infrastructure and business.
Preparing and caring for our people
Preparing our customers
Preparing and protecting our infrastructure and assets
After managing through major infrastructure impacting events, the Operations team conducts a Post Implementation Review to learn from their experiences. Often these reviews spark ideas, which result in technological innovations. Telstra COWs, MEOWs, SatCOWs, Emergency Communication Kits and the Network Status page are all ideas driven by learning from past experiences.
Be assured we have a plan to care for our people and customers and to protect our infrastructure and business continuity. When things do go wrong, due to weather impacts at this time, our people will be there to make sure we keep our customers connected.
The recent early bushfire season in NSW highlighted the importance of reliable and responsive communications to help keep communities safe. We are now facing a very long season ahead for our State and Federal Emergency Services, and during any times of disaster, it’s Telstra’s Operations team at the ready – with the provision of essential warning and communications through the Emergency Alert (EA) system.
The EA system, developed by Telstra’s Network Applications & Services (NAS) and monitored and supported by their Operations team, is a telephone warning system that emergency services can use to send information to communities via landline and mobile telephones, such as during bushfire emergencies. The EA system became operational on 1 December 2009, and to date, EA has been used on over 490 separate occasions nationally, with over 7 million messages being issued for a range of emergencies, ranging from natural disasters, chemical spills to missing person emergencies.
During the NSW bushfire emergency, 76 separate campaigns (a set of messages sent to an area of threat) were completed by NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and approximately 338,000 individual alert messages (both SMS and voice) were sent out.
As these messages are intrusive (that is, you do not opt in or chose to receive them) they can be used to contact a whole community of people rapidly – such as the communities in the Blue Mountains NSW. This is especially useful in rural and remote communities who remain on high alert over a series of days – it’s an effective way to communicate to wide region if a situation deteriorates rapidly. This was the case during the disaster season last year when many fires and floods were impacting regional and rural NSW.
The EA systems provided is critical service that supports the fantastic job the RFS, Ambulance, Police and other services provide to help ensure public safety and minimise loss of life in these situations.
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