Cell providers stage response crews as hurricane moves toward Florida

Some retailers have sold out of external battery packs for your cellphones

SANFORD, Fla. – As Hurricane Dorian approaches Central Florida people are charging up their mobile devices as cellular providers are staging response crews outside the projected path of the storm in case service is interrupted.

"I actually do have extra cellphones," said Ivan Natal, who knows that it will be more challenging to charge his devices if he loses power.  "I have two personal ones and one for the business."

Retailers like One Stop Cellular are selling out of external battery packs that can keep mobile devices charged after the power goes out.

"Make sure your car has plenty of gas.  Lots of people like to charge their phones inside their car," said manager Jontay Jackson.

"I do have a generator so I'm going to have my phones charge all the time," said Natal.  "Hopefully we don't lose any signal."

AT&T has topped off fuel generators, tested high-capacity backup batteries at cell sites and moved equipment that might be damaged by flooding, according to a press release.

The company said it has staged nearly 40 mobile cell towers along the Southeast coast for rapid deployment if needed, along with two drones outfitted with cellular equipment.

"Customers rely on us, especially during major storms," said Joe York, president, AT&T Southeast. "That's why we practice readiness drills and simulations throughout the year and do all we can to have our networks prepared when severe weather strikes. At this point, we are actively working to position equipment and crews, and are ready to respond to support our customers if needed."

AT&T plans to waive overage charges on mobile services, giving customers unlimited talk, text and data for wireless and prepaid customers in impacted areas in Florida from Sept. 2 through Sept. 8. 

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