BOCA RATON, FL — With Tropical Storm Alberto approaching Florida, Verizon Wireless urges residents to make sure their emergency communications plans are in place and ready, if and when the storm makes landfall.
The following tips are designed to help Florida residents prepare:
- Keep wireless phone batteries fully charged in case local power is lost.
- 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.
- Check your list of emergency phone numbers police, fire, and rescue agencies; power companies; insurance providers; family, friends and co-workers; etc. Make sure it is current and program those numbers into your wireless device.
- Distribute your and your family's 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.
Verizon Wireless also urges the following actions once the storm is under way:
- Limit non-emergency calls to conserve battery power and free-up wireless networks for emergency agencies and operations. Calling is heaviest when evacuations are underway, as well as the day immediately before and following a hurricane.
- Send brief text messages rather than voice calls for the same reasons as above.
- Check weather and news reports available through many Internet-connected wireless phones, and through other wireless phone applications, including V CAST News, when power is out.
In addition, Verizon Wireless customers with select Get It Now®-enabled phones can access a wide array of applications* that will link them to critical information and help keep them connected to loved ones before, during and after the storm, including:
- Backup Assistant Backup Assistant lets customers protect the data stored in their Verizon Wireless phones. It's a wireless service that saves a copy of the phone's address book to a secure Web site. If the hurricane does come ashore and the phone is lost, stolen or damaged, Backup Assistant can restore the saved address book to a new phone - wirelessly.
- VZ NavigatorSM This application provides all the features of an advanced navigation system on a customer's mobile phone at a fraction of the price of other GPS devices and systems. In the event of an evacuation, hurricane evacuees can enable this feature on their mobile phones to aid them in moving to a safe location that may be unfamiliar.
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. Verizon Wireless preparation for the 2006 hurricane season included:
- The Verizon Wireless network is built for reliability in emergencies, with battery back-up power at all facilities, as well as permanent generators installed at all switching facilities and most 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. Network teams also have hundreds of portable generators ready to go to further strengthen the network.
- Verizon Wireless is fully prepared to again quickly set up wireless emergency communication centers (WECCs) to serve residents and rescue agencies in the area(s) in the greatest need.
- The company has developed and practiced a comprehensive emergency response plan, including preparing emergency command centers in the case of a storm or crisis.
Since its inception, Verizon Wireless has invested $30 billion $5 billion per year on average to increase the coverage and capacity of its national network and to add new services. For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com.
(Editors: 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.
To accompany local test men and women in areas where hurricane preparedness is under way, contact Chuck Hamby at 813-615-4803 or Chuck.Hamby@VerizonWireless.com)
*Usage fees and airtime charges vary by application.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 53 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, 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.