TAMPA, FL — With hurricane season under way and tropical storms hitting the U.S. Gulf Coast and Eastern seaboard, everyone in their paths is getting ready to weather the storms, including making their personal emergency communications plans. Verizon Wireless works year-round to ensure its network is ready to serve customers in times of emergency, and offers these basic tips that wireless customers can remember in preparation for severe weather and other natural disasters:
- Keep wireless phone batteries charged in case local power is lost well before warnings are issued.
- Have additional, fully charged batteries and car-charger adapters available for back-up power.
- Keep phones, batteries, chargers and other equipment in a dry, accessible location.
- Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers police, fire, and rescue agencies; power companies; insurance providers; family, friends and co-workers; etc. and program the numbers into your phone.
- Distribute wireless phone numbers to family members and friends.
- When dialing 9-1-1, remember to hit the "Send" key and state your location.
Throughout the year, Verizon Wireless prepares comprehensive disaster recovery plans to test emergency generators and back-up batteries to keep the network online in the event of a power outage. In fact, a mock scenario, played out in one of the company's 2004 nationwide disaster preparation drills earlier this year, simulated the circumstances of a hurricane hitting the Gulf Coast of Florida.
In Florida alone, more than 80 percent of the individual transmission sites operated by Verizon Wireless have their own on-site generators. This capability could be critical if roads are impassable in the wake of a storm. In addition, Verizon Wireless has readied thousands of loaner wireless phones and extra batteries for distribution and use by local emergency personnel.
The company also has a mobile fleet of Cells on Wheels (COWS) and Cells on Light Trucks (COLTS), which are self-powered transmitters that can be rolled into hard hit locations or areas that need extra network capacity. The company's fleet of portable generators are kept fueled and placed on standby in areas prone to sudden natural disasters, and fuel companies are scheduled to assist in keeping generators running. The company also invests more than $4 billion annually to expand and upgrade its network.
[In preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Charley, Verizon Wireless offices in Tampa and Fort Myers, and its 17 Communications Stores and kiosks in the Tampa area were closed today. Customers in Florida can reach a Verizon Wireless customer service representative at 800 2 JOIN-IN.]
To view a photo of a COW or COLT, or one of the company's Network Operations Centers, please visit http://www.verizonwireless.com/news and click on "image gallery."
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 40.4 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To receive broadcast-quality video footage of Verizon Wireless operations, log onto www.thenewsmarket.com.