23:18 PM

Preparing for Wildfire Season

CHICAGO (June 10, 2022) – According the National Weather Service, the ongoing drought in the western U.S. will contribute to a busy fire year[1], so it’s more important than ever to be prepared. When preparing for disasters like wildfires, wireless devices are one of the most important tools that residents have to help them stay connected to the people and information they need to stay safe. 

To help ensure connectivity for first responders, public safety officials, local businesses and residents, UScellular’s network team works year-round to prepare its network for unpredictable natural disasters like wildfires. Once a disaster occurs, a team of associates – both local and from around the country – are ready to jump into action to assist in recovery.  

UScellular prepares its networks to ensure that customers can stay connected during times of uncertainty like natural disasters:

· Public Safety Solutions: UScellular offers emergency responder customers a Data Priority solution that separates mission-critical data from commercial and consumer traffic. This service provides first responders and critical support teams with consistent high-quality service, priority on the network and preemption over non-essential data, helping to ensure that they have access to vital services no matter the situation.

· A Hardened Network with Artificial Intelligence: UScellular’s network was designed to withstand shifts in bandwidth needs and has built-in capacity to handle increases in voice, text and data traffic. Using AI systems, UScellular’s network automatically optimizes and self-heals as external conditions change.

· Local Expertise: The company’s local network teams regularly monitor the network, track usage patterns and make modifications as needed to ensure connectivity. They also remain in contact with first responders to assist in recovery efforts, and local stores can offer support for the community by providing free wireless chargers during emergencies.

· Coordinated Efforts: UScellular has a robust Emergency Operations Playbook that details how local operations teams work in conjunction with the company’s National Network Operations Center on preparedness, on-the-ground actions and communications prior to and during a wildfire.

· Network Backup: UScellular has permanent generators at many of its cell sites in the Northwest Region and has portable generators that can be deployed as needed. These generators undergo annual preventative maintenance and are fueled in advance of emergencies.

UScellular wants residents to be prepared and stay safe and shares the following tips:

· Emergency Contact List: Create a physical and digital list that has phone numbers and email addresses of police, fire, hospital, schools and other essential contacts. Also have an “In Case of Emergency” contact in your phone so first responders know who to contact.

· Charge Devices: If you have advance notice of a wildfire in the area, ensure your devices are fully charged. This should include phones, laptops, tablets, flashlights and other electronic devices.

· Make a “Go Bag”: Have a bag packed with a car charger and additional portable chargers ready to go.

· Emergency Alerts: Be aware of wildfires and evacuation orders in your area. Most counties in the area have emergency alerts that you can sign up for, and UScellular provides Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) at no additional charge to its customers.

· Have "Before" Photos: Use your phone to keep up to date photos or videos of the interior and exterior of your property for insurance purposes.

· Download Apps: Free apps from FEMA, AccuWeather and local news stations are available on Google Play or the Apple App Store.

· Find a Safe Place: Identify a safe place ahead of time and let loved ones know the location. The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration initiated an social campaign to do just that called, #safeplaceselfie

[1] https://www.weather.gov/news/221603-IMETs

About UScellular
UScellular is the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier provides a strong, reliable network supported by the latest technology and offers a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers’ lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses and improve the efficiency of government operations. To learn more about UScellular, visit one of its retail stores or www.uscellular.com. To get the latest news, visit newsroom.uscellular.com. Connect with UScellular on social media at facebook.com/uscellular, twitter.com/uscellular, instagram.com/uscellular, YouTube.com/uscellularcorp and linkedin.com/company/uscellular.