Nova Scotia

Cell providers ready for whatever Teddy brings

Thousands of Nova Scotians were left in the dark and without any form of communication one year ago after hurricane Dorian ripped through the province. But this year, no matter how intense of a storm Teddy turns out to be, cell towers should not be impacted, at least not for long.

Emergency crews and backup generators should keep mobile phones working, unlike during Dorian

This cell tower in Cole Harbour was knocked out of commission last year by hurricane Dorian. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Thousands of Nova Scotians were left in the dark and without any form of communication one year ago after hurricane Dorian ripped through the province, but that shouldn't happen when Teddy arrives later this week.  

Paul Mason, the executive director of Nova Scotia's Emergency Management Office in Halifax, said however intense a storm Teddy brings, cell towers should not be impacted, or at least not for as long as last year. 

"We've been working very closely with all our [critical infrastructure] partners including Bell and Eastlink and the other carriers," said Mason. "We are certainly looking to ensure that any of the issues around cellular communications are addressed quickly."

Eastlink says backup generators are fuelled and ready to go in case there is a power outage at one of their cell towers. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Cell providers are beefing up their emergency crews. Bell-Aliant began their storm preparations last week and emergency teams are on standby.

To manage power outages, their wireless sites are equipped with battery backup power systems and generators can also be activated to keep individual sites up and running until commercial power is restored.

Eastlink has also taken measures to keep their cell towers operating.

Portable generators on standby

"All of our backup generators to critical operational sites are fuelled in preparation for expected power interruptions to keep them running," said Eastlink spokesperson Jill Laing in an e-mail. "Additionally, we have a number of portable generators available and ready to be urgently deployed if and where needed."

Cell service is critically important for sharing information during a crisis. EMO plans to continue to use social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook to get their messages to the public. Those messages could not be seen or heard by many people a year ago.

They'll also have personnel from cell providers on standby if they need to be brought into EMO meetings.

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