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Response to emergency situations

The responsibility of the Telefónica Group as a leader in the Telecommunications sector is vital when faced with natural or man-made disasters.

Aware of the social responsibility we have when faced with natural or man-made disasters and our capacity to react and take action to help those affected, we are working hard in all the countries where we operate in order to improve our response.

The response to disasters is primarily the responsibility of governments, and the action policy of Telefónica is that of being capable of organising a rapid deployment of telecommunications technology in order to help and support the efforts of preparation and response to natural disasters which periodically occur in some parts of the world.

Disasters which affect, on most occasions, the most deprived areas with the least infrastructure.

Access to information is particularly important during disaster situations. Telefónica, in its unique position as a leader in Telecommunications, promotes collaboration with governments and humanitarian organisations in order to strengthen the response strategies.

We provide the early warning channel, facilitate the response coordination for emergency services and logistics and support vital communication between and to those affected.

Some examples of our lines of action in 2014 were:

  • An agreement with the Military Emergencies Unit (UME).
  • An agreement signed by Telefónica Brazil with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and the National Centre of Monitoring and Alerts for Natural Disasters (Cemaden). 
  • Red Cross Award for Telefónica's collaboration during emergency situations. 

Telefónica Action Policy for Emergency Situations

Good management of networks and communication services is a key element in providing a rapid, effective response to catastrophic situations from the emergency services.

In addition to setting up the necessary continuity plans for ensuring the provision of normal services to our customers in all the countries where the Company operates, we define specific actions for covering humanitarian aid, such as:

  • The preparation of simulations to construct, improve and keep up-to-date the processes, action plans, capabilities and priorities in a collective response to any disaster or declared emergency.
  • The establishment of a basic code for humanitarian aid with help from national regulators in order to organise the participation of public and private companies.
  • During the emergency we support the access of our mobile services, providing simplified, free access to vital communications until the services which were suspended or removed are restored.
  • Our satellite services resolve the deficit left by other communication infrastructures, because they are in places where others cannot reach. They are services which complement the other solutions from our catalogue, whether as the only possibility of communication or as a 100% diversified backup solution. In addition, they can be applied globally and are independent of geographical factors, distances from nodes or stations and can be deployed rapidly.
  • We are active participants in the GSMA (the organisation of mobile and related company operators dedicated to support for the normalisation, implementation and promotion of GSM mobile telephone systems), with the organisation of a specific working group for "Response to Natural Disasters and Emergencies".