THOUSAND OAKS, CA — Verizon has increased its support for firefighters in the field and evacuees at shelters in Los Angeles County to help them stay connected during the wildfires that currently engulf more than 40,000 acres.
Verizon is providing additional wired phones, wireless broadband modems and mobile phones to help firefighters coordinate their attacks on the wildfires in the Angeles National Forest and the San Jacinto Mountains.
To date, Verizon has deployed -- for firefighters, first responders and evacuees, at no cost -- 130 cellphones, 55 Mobile Broadband cards for Internet access and two high-speed Internet connections.
In addition, the Verizon Foundation has contributed an additional $5,000, for a total of $10,000, to the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the American Red Cross to further its relief efforts for the wildfire evacuees.
Keeping Customers Connected
Verizon technicians are poised to enter the affected areas after receiving safety clearance from fire officials, and, if necessary, repair any damage to its networks. Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless technicians have ensured sufficient capacity in area cell sites to keep customers connected as mandatory evacuations of residential and commercial neighborhoods generate spikes in call volume. Backup batteries and generators have powered several wired sites during intermittent commercial power interruptions caused by the fires.
Support for Emergency Responders
The details of Verizon's support are:
- Fifteen wireless handsets and three Mobile Broadband cards to the American Red Cross Greater Los Angeles Chapter.
- Ten wireless handsets to the American Red Cross San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter.
- Twenty wireless handsets and five Mobile Broadband cards to the Hansen Dam Support Center.
- Deployed 15 wireless handsets and three Mobile Broadband cards for the California Incident Management Team.
- Deployed two laptop computers, 20 wireless handsets and 10 Mobile Broadband cards for the La Canada High School Evacuee Center.
- Twenty-five wired phone connections and two High Speed Internet connections.
- Four Mobile Broadband cards for the San Bernardino National Forest command center and 25 wireless handsets, Mobile Broadband cards and 30 wired phone connections for the California Incident Management team at the Cottonwood fire in the San Jacinto Mountains.
MORRIS CANYON FIRE
- Twenty-five wireless phones, 15 Mobile Broadband cards and nine wired phone connections for the firefighters' command center for the Morris Fire in San Gabriel Canyon.
Support for Evacuees
Verizon home phone customers who have left their home because of the wildfires can stay in touch with friends and family by forwarding their calls to another number at no charge. Home customers who want to set up call forwarding should call Verizon at 1-800-483-1000; business customers should call 1-800-483-2000.
"Verizon's wired network exceeds 99.9 percent reliability, and we want our customers to know they can count on us to keep them connected anytime, especially during a crisis," said Margaret Serjak, vice president of Verizon's California operations.
Luis Cruz, Verizon Wireless regional president, said, "The devastation caused by these wildfires is heartbreaking. It's affecting our customers, communities and employees. We are committed to making a difference for those who've been affected by these fires."
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 87 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations provide converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network. Wireline also includes Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 235,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $97 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.
VERIZON'S ONLINE NEWS CENTER: Verizon news releases, executive speeches and biographies, media contacts, high-quality video and images, and other information are available at Verizon's News Center on the World Wide Web at www.verizon.com/news. To receive news releases by e-mail, visit the News Center and register for customized automatic delivery of Verizon news releases.