BIRMIINGHAM, AL — With Hurricane Dennis strengthening and moving in the direction of the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama residents are urged to include emergency communication plans in preparation for severe weather related to Hurricane Dennis.
Verizon Wireless, which owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network serving 45.5 million customers, offers residents these tips to help them be safer during storms and other times of crisis:
- Keep wireless phone batteries charged in case local power is lost well before a storm might hit.
- Have additional 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 them into your phone.
- Distribute wireless phone numbers to family members and friends.
- Forward your home phone calls to your wireless number if you will be away from your home or have to evacuate.
"Unfortunately, we saw first hand last year just how important wireless communication can be before, during and after a severe storm," said Jim McGean, President of Verizon Wireless-Alabama/Georgia region. "Planning and preparation are key to staying safe."
Additional tips for Hurricane Dennis include:
- Limit non-emergency calls to conserve battery power and free-up wireless networks for emergency agencies and operations.
- Send brief TXT Messages rather than voice calls, to help keep networks clear.
- Keep up with weather and news reports using internet-connected wireless phones when power is out.
"Staying in touch is essential in times of crisis, and we take our public safety role very seriously," said McGean. "We are proud to work with residents, and local and state officials to help keep lines of communication open."
Nationwide, Verizon Wireless has provided thousands of free phones and millions of minutes of airtime to relief organizations and emergency workers across the country when other communications networks lost coverage during storms.
About Verizon Wireless' Hurricane Preparation and Response
- Verizon Wireless has invested more than $110-million to date in 2005 in Alabama and Georgia.
- Nationwide, Verizon Wireless technicians logged more than 250,000 man-hours in preparation and hurricane response efforts last year.
- The Verizon Wireless network is built for reliability in emergencies, with battery back up power at most facilities, as well as generators installed at all switching facilities and many cell site locations. This capability is critical when power goes out and if roads are impassable in the wake of a storm.
- The company has a 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.
- Verizon Wireless is prepared to quickly set up Wireless Emergency Communication Centers (WECCs) to serve residents and rescue agencies in the area(s) in the greatest need.
Video footage with helpful tips for consumers to prepare for hurricanes and other severe weather is available in the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 45.5 million voice and data 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 preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.