Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Rescue efforts delay Comcast service

On Thursday afternoon, utility companies were scrambling to develop plans that will deal with the extensive damage done by the EF-5 tornado that decimated Tuscaloosa’s infrastructure.

Comcast Cable, which provides television, Internet and phone service to thousands of Tuscaloosa residents, was no exception.  The extent of the damage, however, was not immediately known.

“We are still in the field doing ascertainment on the state of our infrastructure   and will know a lot more about how long it will take to repair when testing is complete,” said Douglas Wells, Vice President of Government & Community Affairs for Comcast’s Mid-South Region.

Currently, some utilities are steering clear of the most affected areas until emergency personnel are finished with their rescue operations so they don’t hinder those rescue efforts.

“We are letting the EMS do their thing first,” Wells said. “The most important thing in a situation like this is for them to get in there and save as many lives as possible.”

In disaster situations such as this, utilities have a procedure they follow that allows the most essential utilities to be restored first.

“The power companies generally like to get their services up and running first,” he said. “Since many of our lines use power company poles, we let them restore that first.”

After poles are restored, cable and telephone companies can enter the area and repair damaged and destroyed lines.

“Once that is done, we will try to get into the affected areas and repair lines so we can resume television and Internet service,” Wells said. “Comcast works very closely with the utility services to restore service.”

Cable services won’t know the extent of the damages until electricity is restored, he said.

“Without power, it’s impossible to know the extent of the damages that our cables lines have sustained,” Wells said. “Once power is restored, we can run tests that will ascertain exactly how much damage has been done to our lines.”

Some areas are severely devastated and, as a result, Comcast crews are not allowed enter the areas.

“Our crews are very restricted in what they can do,” he said. “Right now, the emergency crews need to be able to get in there and perform rescue operations.  After they are done and power is restored, we will work on restoring service.”

Less than 24 hours after the storm, Comcast had already mobilized trucks, equipment, supplies and personnel to assist in the repair operations in Tuscaloosa and other affected parts of Alabama.

“Restoration is well under way,” Wells said. “We spent the morning in meetings trying to organize crews and assets to get to the area.”

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