HONOLULU, HI — Tests after past hurricanes show Verizon Wireless performed best, thanks to year-round preparations. Advance preparation can also help residents and business owners weather a storm.
In Hawaii, Verizon Wireless' preparations have included a $77 million investment in its network serving the state over that last four years in Hawaii's network, along with:
- Back-up power: Battery back-up power at all 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 Hawaii network team has additional generators ready-to-go to further strengthen the network in hard-hit areas.
- Emergency coverage: Mobile cell sites, called Cells on Wheels (COWs), which can be rolled into hard-hit locations or areas that need extra network capacity.
- Community calling centers: Wireless Emergency Communication Centers (WECCs) that can be activated to serve residents and rescue agencies in the area(s) in the greatest need.
- Overall readiness: Comprehensive emergency response plans, including activation of emergency command centers in the case of a storm or crisis.
"Our commitment to preparedness pays off. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina last year, Verizon Wireless drive tests found the company's network averaged an impressive 90% call completion rate in impacted areas after the storm, compared to rates of 79% and lower among competitors," said Mark Yamauchi, director of Hawaii sales.
"Similarly we hope customers will prepare themselves for the active hurricane season forecasters currently predict," added Yamauchi who offered the following storm preparation wireless tips:
- Charge up: Keep wireless phone batteries fully charged in case local power is lost well before warnings are issued.
- Plan for power loss: Have additional charged batteries and car-charger adapters available for back-up power.
- Safeguard equipment: Keep phones, batteries, chargers and other equipment in a dry, accessible location.
- Secure emergency contacts: 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.
- Provide your number: Distribute wireless phone numbers to family members and friends.
And these tips if a storm is imminent or has struck:
- Call forward: Forward your home phone calls to your wireless number if you will be away from your home or have to evacuate.
- Prioritize calling: Limit non-emergency calls to conserve battery power and free-up wireless networks for emergency agencies and operations.
- Say it in text: Send brief TXT Messages rather than make voice calls to conserve battery power and network capacity
- Stay informed: Check weather and news reports available through many Internet-connected wireless phones, and through other wireless phone applications, when power is out.
To see first-hand how the company tests its network and prepares for hurricane season, members of the news media are invited to ride along in one of the specially equipped Verizon Wireless test vehicles with one of the company's real-life test men or test women. To arrange a test drive ride-along in Hawaii, please contact Georgia Taylor at 206-940-0385.
(Editors: Photos of Verizon Wireless' hurricane preparedness are 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 53 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, 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.