Superstorm Sandy and the Power of Connection

Sandy demonstrated the need for network reliability and mobile devices in times of crisis.

By on October 30, 2013

One year after Superstorm Sandy left a lasting mark on the Jersey shoreline, it remains a reminder of the intrinsic importance of connectivity in daily life. When the storm hit, it displaced more than 1 million people in a dozen states and left approximately 8.1 million homes without power.

During and after the storm, comfort was often found in connecting with loved ones. The residents and community leaders along the Jersey Shore needed a network they could rely on, and Verizon Wireless was there for them.

Ninety-four percent of the network in the Northeast remained in service throughout the storm. Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Seidel was in Toms River, N.J., reporting immediately after Sandy hit, and found the 4G LTE network to perform smoothly. He said, “I can say throughout the entire storm from Point Pleasant Beach all the way down here [Toms River], I have had 4G [LTE] service just about the entire time, so thumbs up to Verizon for keeping that up and running.”

To ensure connectedness for displaced residents, Verizon Wireless staged nine mobile device charging stations in the New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania area offering free device charging, domestic phone calls and Internet access. Eight wireless emergency communications centers were deployed in the area to support emergency management offices, first responders and other public safety organizations.

Even months after the storm, relief organizations and shelters experienced higher intake. Verizon Wireless donated eight tablets, four smartphones, and a mobile hotspot that provides Internet connectivity to Wi-Fi-enabled devices to People’s Pantry in Toms River to help satisfy their growing technological needs.

“You don’t realize how much you rely on upon technology until you spend 15 hours a day trying to run a place like this without it,” said Pat Donaghue, executive director of People’s Pantry. “The last thing on people’s list is, ‘I need a laptop; I need a computer because I have to answer an email.’ Coming here enables them to do that and that would not have happened without Verizon.”

Photo Credit: FEMA