By Jim Bugel, AT&T Assistant Vice President, Public Safety and Homeland Security

Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that AT&T is the first company to be certified under the Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Program, or PS-Prep, which is a partnership between DHS and private entities and is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

We take very seriously our commitment to disaster preparedness and we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in this area.  We were excited to participate in this voluntary program and we’re incredibly proud to be the first private company to receive certification under the DHS-developed standards.  We couldn’t agree more with Secretary Napolitano that the private sector indeed plays a critical role in our country’s disaster preparedness efforts and abilities to respond accordingly.

More than 20 years ago, we launched a Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) program aimed at ensuring that communications services are maintained or recovered as quickly as possible following natural or man-made disasters.  We have invested more than $600 million in our NDR program and have activated our NDR team numerous times in response to devastating disasters such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf Coast oil spill and the Joplin, Missouri tornado.

The PS-Prep program reminds us of the importance and the extraordinary benefits of public-private partnerships.  Through these voluntary, cooperative efforts with government, private companies, like AT&T, are able to provide individuals and businesses across the nation with reliable, secure and indeed vital communications services in times of need.

We look forward to continuing to work with the Administration as the PS-Prep program grows to include additional private-sector companies.

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