Verizon has begun to ready its network and physical assets in Florida in preparation for the possibility that Tropical Storm Isaac will cause extensive damage.
"Maintaining our customers' communications services while ensuring our employees' safety is our overriding priority with a situation like this," said Jeanmarie Milla, Verizon's operations president for Florida. "Whether Isaac is a tropical storm or a hurricane, whether it threatens our service territory or not, now is the time for Verizon to initiate its emergency incident plans
"We will be ready for any potentially severe conditions and will marshal our assets to keep as much of our operating territory in service as possible," said Milla. "We encourage our customers to review their readiness for maintaining communications options if necessary."
(To view a short video on customer-readiness tips, click here.)
Verizon, which operates some of the most advanced and reliable wireline and wireless networks in the world, each year reviews and updates its emergency preparedness plans to be ready for a wide range of disasters - especially major weather events such as hurricanes. The company also conducts drills to test readiness.
Verizon has begun regular meetings involving its emergency preparedness and restoration teams. Verizon teams are readying materials to use to protect critical company facilities. The company is testing generators at central offices and topping off their fuel tanks. Verizon is filling its vehicles' fuel tanks at the end of the work day and reviewing material stocks. Vendors are on standby for immediate replenishment. The company is also reviewing its plans to move vehicles normally parked in flood-prone areas.
Consumers Should Keep Hard-Wired and Verizon Wireless Phones Handy
It is important for consumers to make sure they have a hard-wired telephone - one with a cord that can be plugged into a telephone jack - handy in their homes. If they usually use a cordless phone, it will probably not work during a power outage, even though Verizon still might be providing dial tone to the home.
Consumers should also keep a list of emergency numbers handy and make emergency plans with their families when they see a hurricane approaching their area. In addition, customers should make sure they have extra batteries and other supplies. Having a charged Verizon Wireless phone is another good backup option - especially if residents cannot stay in their home after a storm.
Small businesses that use key phone systems or small PBXs should have a regular landline, possibly a fax line, to use for emergency calling in power outages, again via a corded telephone.
Verizon Wireless Offers Consumers Tips on a Personal Emergency Communications Plan
Verizon Wireless offers the following tips to help wireless customers get the most out of their phones, smartphones and other wireless devices in preparation for an emergency and to stay connected in the event of one:
- Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers and email addresses - police, fire, and rescue agencies; power companies; insurance providers; family, friends and co-workers; etc. - and program them into your phone, smartphone, tablet or laptop.
- In your phone's contact list, store the number of a person to contact under the contact name ICE (In Case of Emergency). In an emergency, if you are seriously injured or disabled, authorities will be quickly know who to call in an emergency should you be unable to.
- Distribute wireless phone numbers and email addresses to family members and friends.
- Forward your home phone calls to your wireless number if you will be away or need to evacuate.
- Practice sending text messages.
- Social media and email accounts can serve as a way for you, your family and friends to stay connected. Set up those accounts on your Internet capable devices as a way to stay connected with status and location updates.
- Set up your work email and server log-in (when allowed) to your wireless device to stay updated with co-workers in the event of emergency office closures.
- Develop a systematic evacuation and communications plan with family and friends that includes what to do, who calls who, where to go, and what supplies and items you will take with you.
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 more than 94 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 more than 188,000. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.