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BELL GETTING READY FOR ANDREW

 BELL GETTING READY FOR ANDREW
 ATLANTA, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- South Central Bell officials say


that they are doing everything they can to assure that phones will keep on ringing if Hurricane Andrew comes to Louisiana tonight.
 "We're taking every precaution to deal with a natural force of this magnitude," said Danny Wilson, Bell's district manager in Lafayette. "Our employees are prepared."
 Wilson said that all of the company's 6400 Louisiana employees will be available throughout the emergency period, and the company did not anticipate having to bring in workers from outside the state to maintain service. He said, however, that as a precaution, other Bell employees in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee were on alert and could be brought in on a moment's notice if necessary.
 "Most of our employees have been through these before," he said. "They're well trained in emergency service restoration procedures and know what needs to be done -- they make sure their families are safe and then they go to work and plan to stay for the duration. They'll be out there in hipboots and piroques until all the phones are working again."
 Wilson said that the company's use of technological improvements such as waterproofed "jelly filled" cables, fiber optic cables, air- pressure protected cables, and solid-state computerized equipment serve its customers well, especially during emergencies such as this.
 In addition, Wilson said that the telephone network had a great deal of redundancy and reliability built in so that if the lines connecting two towns went down, backup paths to reroute calls are available.
 The company has also permanently installed backup power generators so that their offices can keep functioning during a general commercial power failure.
 Wilson said that despite the company's precautions to reduce the probability of widespread outages, flooding will continue to threaten service in individual homes and businesses because the wires inside buildings and the connecting points on the outside of buildings are still vulnerable to water damage.
 "In that regard, we're doing the same thing others are doing," said Wilson. "We're sandbagging buildings and moving motor vehicles to higher locations."
 Wilson said that the company is also asking its customers to limit their discretionary calling during emergencies so that those with service and other problems can get their calls through the network quicker.
 "We've tried to do everything possible to get ready for situations like this," said Wilson, "and our employees have always risen to the occasion because they recognize that telephone service is critical, especially during disasters.
 "After all, we live in these communities, and it's a matter of pride with us to make sure the phones work in all conditions."
 -0- 8/25/92
 /CONTACT: Danny Wilson of South Central Bell, 318-261-2800/
 (BLS) CO: BellSouth ST: Georgia IN: TLS SU:


TM-LD -- NY098 -- 3274 08/25/92 21:39 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 25, 1992
Words:469
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