With Hurricane Sandy's landfall imminent along the Eastern Seaboard, Verizon continues to finalize its emergency plans to serve consumers, businesses and government agencies, and keep them connected and online at work, at home and on the road.
Verizon Wireless Communications Stores along the East Coast plan to be open Sunday (Oct. 28), with store hours subject to change throughout the day, based upon local conditions and safety evacuations. Customers are advised to check by calling ahead to their local store.
Company-owned and -operated communications stores, which offer the latest 4G LTE smartphones, tablets and mobile broadband devices for laptops, have increased stocks of car phone chargers and portable universal charging devices which are essential to staying connected should commercial power become unavailable. Stores in Midwestern states threatened with an unusually early winter storm also plan to remain open, weather permitting.
The company has suspended most non-emergency activity in the East, such as non-essential construction projects and internal training programs, to ensure resources are focused on serving customers for the duration of the storm.
Verizon wireline and wireless business units have activated national and regional command and control centers, enabling Verizon operations teams to monitor the storm's progress and company operations, including network performance. Verizon has established communications with power and other service providers to ensure proper coordination in the event of storm damage. The company also has contacted vendors and other outside partners so that critical communications equipment and supplies can be prioritized, stocked and shipped expeditiously.
Company equipment -- including poles, fiber-optic and copper cable, portable cell sites that can replace a damaged cell tower and mobile emergency generators that can be used when local electrical power fails -- is being staged in and around the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions.
In addition, Verizon managers are communicating the company's storm preparation efforts and coordinating pre-planned response activities with the public-safety community, as well as state, county and municipal agencies along the East Coast and the Midwest.
"Verizon Wireless stands ready to serve our customers, and I urge everyone first and foremost to stay safe," said Dan Mead, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless. "We live and work in the towns and cities in the storm's path, and we are dedicated to keeping our friends, families and neighbors connected in times like these. We prepare for situations like this year-round, and pride ourselves in our ability to be there for our customers when they count on us most."
As Sandy's track came more into focus, the company began communicating with its customers on Friday (Oct. 26), posting consumer tips on various company websites, issuing a news release to media outlets in the threatened region and nationally, engaging customers through social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and sending emails to consumers, with key links for troubleshooting and reporting service problems.
Bob Mudge, president of Verizon's Consumer and Mass Business division, said: "In addition to communicating with customers and ensuring that we will be working to keep the network operating and responding quickly to issues as they arise, we have reminded our employees of the need to work safely, be alert, and help our customers in any way they can. But our people know this well and are at their best in these critical situations when our customers depend on us the most."
Mudge noted that even though Verizon technicians may be ready to repair storm-damaged Verizon facilities, they may have to wait for approval from local power companies, first-responders or law enforcement before beginning restoration work.
John Stratton, president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, said: "We appreciate being a trusted adviser to many of the businesses and government agencies that are now preparing to protect citizens and ensure speedy recovery in the storm's aftermath. Our government clients at the state, local and federal levels are already playing crucial pre-storm roles, and we will provide ongoing support for the many businesses and government agencies that are now deploying. Our clients depend on us to support their global technology and communications needs 24/7, and we are ready."
The executives stressed that in addition to serving customers, the safety of Verizon employees is equally important. Many steps have and will be taken to prevent or minimize problems on the company's communications networks. Planning for crises takes place year- round. Verizon has invested $30.5 billion over the past two years to build, maintain and fortify its wireless and wireline infrastructure for such events.
Customers may contact Verizon online at www.verizon.com/outage to report any wireline service-related issues; or call 1-800-VERIZON (1-800-837-4966). Business customers are advised to contact their regular customer service centers or account teams as needed.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with nearly 96 million retail customers nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500. A Dow 30 company with $111 billion in 2011 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of 184,500. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.