ALPHARETTA, GA — Georgia is among the top four states in the nation with the most severe storm damage reports. The Peach State has experienced 20 presidentially declared disasters in the past decade and, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Georgia’s weather-related insurance claims topped over one billion dollars in 2004-2005 alone (the most recent numbers). In the face of such severe weather circumstances, communications is critical to getting the help and services Georgians need in times of crisis. To that end, Verizon Wireless, which operates the nation’s most reliable and largest voice and 3G data network, offers a well-prepared wireless network for the 2010 Hurricane Season which begins June 1.
Network Reliability is Key
Verizon Wireless is continually reinforcing its network infrastructure to ensure reliability for customers in even the most severe circumstances. In the first three months of 2010 alone, it invested more than $42 million to enhance its network in Georgia and added network capacity in over 75 Georgia cities and towns. Currently, 99 percent of the state’s population is covered by Verizon Wireless’ 3G network. In addition, 100% of the Verizon Wireless cell site buildings are equipped with battery back up power and the switching facilities, where the network performance and traffic is managed and monitored, have both battery and generator back up in case of a power outage. In regards to network traffic, capacity can be added quickly if needed along all pre-identified evacuation routes from the coastal area to help handle the increased calling and data usage during an emergency.
“As the nation’s largest wireless carrier, we take our role in public safety very seriously,” said Jeff Mango, president - Georgia/Alabama Region for Verizon Wireless. “Living in Georgia, we are right in the middle of the most active severe weather zone in the country. The public and first responders rely on quality wireless communication every day, especially during storms and other critical circumstances. We are committed to providing that for them.”
Verizon Wireless has continued the extensive investments and preparations that prove critical during and after heavy storms. In the aftermath of even the most devastating hurricanes of recent years, the Verizon Wireless network has remained strong while many other wireless communication networks struggled to serve emergency response officials and residents.
Additional highlights of the Verizon Wireless Hurricane Season preparation include:
- A comprehensive emergency response plan, including preparing emergency command centers across Georgia in the case of a storm or other crisis.
- The company has a fleet of Cells on Wheels (COWs), Cells on Light Trucks (COLTs), and generators on trailers (GOaTs) that can be rolled into hard-hit locations or areas that need extra network capacity.
- Pre-arranging fuel delivery to mobile units and generators to keep the network operating at full strength even if power is lost for an extended period of time.
- The completion of the Verizon Wireless 3G high-speed wireless network throughout the state, allowing customers to access advanced wireless services more reliably and at even faster broadband speeds.
- Updating and optimizing technology at regional network switching facilities throughout the region, including expanding capacity in the company’s regional switching facilities throughout Georgia, erecting new digital cell sites with on-site back-up power, and deploying a team of “test men” across the state in high-tech vehicles to fine tune the company’s all-digital network.
In preparation for this year’s major storm season, Verizon Wireless offers Georgians these tips to be safer during severe weather and other emergencies:
- 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.
- Keep a list of emergency phone numbers – police, fire, and rescue agencies; insurance providers; family, friends and co-workers; etc. – programmed 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.
- 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/ news reports available on wireless phone applications when power is out.
Verizon Wireless has invested more than $59 billion nationally since it was formed – $5.7 billion on average every year – to increase the coverage and capacity of its premier nationwide network and to add new services. Since 2003, the company has invested over $1 billion in Georgia.
For more information on the Verizon Wireless network, products and services, visit www.verizonwireless.com.
(Editor’s Note: To accompany a Verizon Wireless Test Man, tour a network emergency command center, or obtain broadcast-quality video B-roll and still images of emergency preparations, contact Caran Smith at 678-339-4891).
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and 3G data network, serving nearly 93 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 81,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit 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.