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AT&T is still the omnipotent "Death Star" of telecom; so, logically speaking, its disasters will hurt the worst and affect the most people. Even though AT&T still controls just about everything, there is no reason for the serious contingency planner to be out of touch in a disaster. In fact, even if everything on the ground is wiped clean, such as in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, satellite communications can be deployed quickly. Then those same numbers used to call you yesterday can stay in service via satellite—if you plan ahead.

Even technology as mundane as laptops, BlackBerry devices, wireless phones, instant messaging, voicemail, broadcast fax, email blasts, low-power AM or FM radio stations, two-way radios, push-to-talk phones, and a host of other technologies add immeasurably to 4Ci, and ensure that your First Alert procedures execute perfectly. You never know which technology will survive, so factor them all into your plans. Many services, such as two-way paging, are satellite-based, and therefore will survive disasters even worse than cutting a major fiber-optic cable. For example, select paging technology that does two-way text messaging, and you can "tweet" away over a satellite, no matter what happens.

The two most important things to remember are to a) understand and set your First Alert objectives, and then b) enable them with a veritable plethora of available technology. We hope that these tips have helped you, and we wish you the best of luck in your contingency planning pursuits.

In addition to his work with his own two companies, TelLAWCom Labs Inc. and b4Ci, Inc., Leo A. Wrobel is honored to have been elected president of the http://www.naspa.com" (NaSPA) a not-for-profit company concentrating on the needs of tens of thousands of members since 1986. NaSPA specializes in career development, employment, information technology, and disaster recovery. Contact Leo at 214-888-1300 or email leo@b4ci.com.

Sharon M. (Ford) Wrobel served as corporate secretary and director of personnel for Premiere Network Services Inc. prior to joining b4Ci, Inc. in 2004. During that time, Sharon was instrumental in getting Premiere certified as the first CLEC to be certified in all 50 states, by aiding in filings and attending hearings. She also engaged in extensive research for Premiere, a function she continues with b4Ci as vice president of business development. Sharon was also president of the Ellis County Early Childhood PTA and the Ovilla Lions Club. She attended the University of Maryland and El Centro College in Dallas and received training as a registered nurse before joining Leo in business in the late 1990s. Sharon also served as a public official by accepting appointments to the local Planning and Zoning Commission and the Historical Commission.

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