Project Management Institute

Managing a crisis

rebuilding telecommunications at the World Trade Center

On February 26, 1993, Tower 1 of the World Trade Center (New York, NY, USA) was damaged when a bomb exploded in its underground garage. The explosion not only caused structural damage, it dismantled the center's telecommunications infrastructure. This article examines how the telecommunications project team--comprised of employees from the New York Telephone Company and AT&T Global Business Communications Systems--responded to this emergency and helped repair and maintain Tower 1's voice and data communications systems. In doing so, it describes both the damage resulting from the explosion and the events that occurred immediately afterwards. It looks at how the explosion affected Tower 1's communications network and discusses how New York Telephone responded to the disruption of power and telecommunications in Tower 1. It explains how the project team prioritized their response activities, assessed the situation's risks, and established a project team that collaborated successfully. It also outlines the four-phase approach that the team used to manage its emergency response; it lists each phase's critical activities and the lessons that the project team learned. It then details the telecommunications project team's major accomplishments and It suggests several questions that can help project managers develop contingency plans for managing disaster recovery efforts.
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