May 11, 2000-In times of crisis and natural disaster, communications can be critical in coordinating emergency and relief efforts. As firefighters tackle the fires in Los Alamos, wireless usage on the Verizon Wireless network has more than doubled. To help meet the communications needs of firefighters and disaster relief organizations, Verizon Wireless is donating wireless phones and service in the Los Alamos area.
- 41 Verizon Wireless phones were provided to meet the immediate communications needs of the Santa Fe Fire Department, American Red Cross and U S WEST Communications.
- 60 wireless phones will be delivered today to three American Red Cross command centers serving the emergency area.
- 16 additional wireless phones will be delivered to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the City of Espanola.
- Verizon Wireless local crews have taken the necessary steps to maintain the network in the Los Alamos area. One cell site has lost commercial power due to the fire, but is operating on a back-up generator. Crews also have increased the capacity of several surrounding cell sites to help accommodate the spike in call volumes.
- Due to the increase in call volumes on the network, Verizon Wireless asks that customers limit any non-emergency calls.
Members of the media can receive additional updates on Verizon Wireless service in the area by contacting Patti Finley at
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 16 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 4 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE:BEL) and Vodafone AirTouch Plc (LSE:VOD; NYSE:VOD). Verizon Wireless will be further strengthened by the addition of the wireless assets of GTE Corp. (NYSE:GTE) when it completes its merger with Bell Atlantic.