CHICAGO, IL — Verizon Wireless is participating in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort in Illinois, providing assistance on both a city and state level.
At the City of Chicago's disaster relief intake center at 1301 S. Racine Street, Verizon Wireless has established a Wireless Emergency Communications Center (WECC), providing wireless phone service to evacuees who wish to reach out to family and friends. Verizon Wireless' EV-DO high-speed data service is also being used at the center to expedite the processing and on-site check in of evacuees. In addition, the company has also donated more than 300 wireless devices with airtime service to the City of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communication to assist with its emergency relief coordination efforts.
To help ensure optimal network performance, Verizon Wireless' network team installed bi-directional amplifiers on the Racine Street building earlier this week.
Verizon Wireless employees have also been on site since the center opened providing backpacks to evacuees to store toiletries, clothing, school supplies and other goods as they become settled at their temporary lodging.
In the suburbs, Verizon Wireless has provided several wireless phones with free service, along with 200 backpacks, to the Elgin Mental Health Center to help with hurricane relief efforts at that facility.
On a state level, Verizon Wireless has provided 95 wireless devices with free service to the State of Illinois to assist with a variety of emergency relief efforts. More than 100 wireless phones with airtime service have been provided to the Illinois National Guard for use by servicemen and women who are being deployed in the stricken Gulf Coast area.
"Verizon Wireless is proud to be able to assist the evacuees of Hurricane Katrina and put our technology and resources to work for such an important cause," said Tracy Nolan, president-Illinois/Wisconsin Region, Verizon Wireless.
Verizon Wireless is also enabling its customers across the United States to join in the relief efforts by donating money to the American Red Cross, one of the leading agencies offering help to victims and survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
To participate, customers can send a message to the address 2HELP or 24357 using the key word "help." They will receive a reply message asking them to confirm a donation to the American Red Cross of $5.00 (five dollars). To do so, customers will press "Y" on their keypad, and send that message. Customers wishing to donate more than once can send up to four additional text messages to 2HELP, for a total contribution of $25.00. Through Oct. 31, 2005, Verizon Wireless post-pay customers with phones capable of text messaging can use those phones to donate to the American Red Cross. Donations to the American Red Cross under this program are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 47.4 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.