TAMPA, FL — With Hurricane Danielle and Tropical Storm Earl roaming the Atlantic Ocean and signaling the start of the most active period of the 2010 storm season, Florida residents are urged to prepare and/or refresh their emergency communication plans. Verizon Wireless, which operates the nation’s most reliable and largest voice and 3G data network, offers residents these tips to keep themselves safe, in touch and in charge as this year’s storm season heats up:
- 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 evacuate.
Once a storm begins to hit, the company also urges the following actions:
- 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 on wireless phone applications when power is out.
“The key is to be prepared and in control for any and every storm as the hurricane season heats up,” said Pam Tope, Florida region president for Verizon Wireless. “Our network teams are watching Danielle and Earl closely, even if they don’t reach Florida. We have prepared all year to make sure our services remain strong and available for customers to stay safe, connected and in command when any storm threatens.”
Verizon Wireless has continued the intensive investments and preparations that proved critical during and after past years’ extraordinary storm seasons. These include building “Super Switch” call processing hubs in Florida designed to withstand Category 5 hurricanes; installing high-tech in-building systems at police, fire, health and other key emergency facilities across the state; deploying teams of “Test Men” to ensure network coverage is strong; maintaining a fleet of dozens of Cells on Wheels (COWs), Cells on Light Trucks (COLTs), and generators on trailers (GOaTs); adding cell sites, more than 80 percent of which have their own back-up power; and many more initiatives.
The company plans to launch by the end of the year its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless network in 25 to 30 markets nationally. LTE will deliver significantly greater high-speed network capacity, which is critical in times of emergency, than even today’s most advanced 3G coverage.
For more information on the Verizon Wireless network, products and services, visit www.verizonwireless.com.
Editor’s Note: To accompany a Verizon Wireless test team, tour a network facility or emergency command center, or obtain broadcast-quality video B-roll and still images of network operations/emergency preparations, contact Chuck Hamby at 813-404-6029.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and 3G data network, serving more than 92 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 79,000 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.