CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — With another active hurricane season predicted this year, Texas residents located in the coastal regions are urged to prepare an emergency communications plan for the 2006 storm season set to begin June 1.
Verizon Wireless, which made intensive preparations to maintain strong network coverage during the extraordinary storms seasons of 2004 and 2005, offers residents these tips to be safer during hurricanes and other times of crisis:
- Keep wireless phone batteries fully charged in case local power is lost well before warnings are issued.
- 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.
"Last year's extraordinary hurricane season underscored the critical importance of being prepared. We know that wireless phones can be a lifeline to Texas costal residents in emergencies, and we want to help them communicate and stay safe throughout the storms," said Luis Cruz, region president for Verizon Wireless.
The company also urges the following actions once a storm is on the way:
- Limit non-emergency calls to conserve battery power and free-up wireless networks for emergency agencies and operations.
- Send brief text messages rather than voice calls for the same reasons as above.
- Check weather and news reports available on many internet-connected and other wireless phones applications when power is out.
Verizon Wireless has continued the comprehensive preparations and large investments that kept its network strong even through the destructive storms of past years, while other communication networks often were adversely impacted.
These efforts include:
- Fine-tuning the company's digital network across the state to add call capacity in threatened areas before the storm hits. Rolling out teams of "test men" in specially-equipped vehicles to check the network before and after storms.
- About 95 percent of Verizon Wireless transmission sites in the coastal regions of Texas have their own generators to keep the network operating during power outages.
- Strategically positioning fleets of mobile generators and mobile cell sites to be deployed immediately in any hard-hit areas. The company has dozens of Cells on Wheels (COWs) and Cells on Light Trucks (COLTs), which are self-powered transmitters that can be rolled into areas that need extra network capacity.
- Pre-arranging fuel delivery to the mobile units and generators at permanent cell sites to keep the network operating at full strength even if power is lost for an extended period of time.
During the height of the 2005 hurricane season, Verizon Wireless technicians and relief crews in Texas logged hundreds of thousands of man-hours in preparation, response and recovery efforts. Thousands of phones and millions of airtime minutes were provided free to emergency workers and the public as landline services and other wireless carriers lost coverage during the storms. Verizon Wireless Communications Stores also provided free phone charging and repair services to anyone impacted by the storms.
For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com.
Test Man Ride-Along Program
The specially equipped Verizon Wireless test vehicles simultaneously test seven wireless providers, using a computerized program to generate phonically diverse "conversations" and data transmissions. Members of the media who are interested in setting up an interview or ride-along with a local member of the Verizon Wireless team of real-life test men and women, please contact Jimmy Duvall at 972-444-5515 or via email at email@example.com.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 53 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, N.J., 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.