Verizon Keeps Southern California Wildfire Evacuees Connected With Free Call-Forwarding

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Verizon customers who have evacuated their homes because of the Sierra Madre wildfire can add call forwarding to their account at no charge as part of the company's efforts to help those in need cope with the disaster.

"Staying in touch with family and friends is more important than ever during times of crisis, and free call-forwarding will help our customers remain connected during this evacuation," said Margaret Serjak, vice president of operations for Verizon's West Coast region.

Verizon customers who have been forced to evacuate can opt - at no charge - to have their telephone calls automatically forwarded to a working phone number at another location where they are staying, or to a wireless number. Customers will not be billed for the one-time setup fees or monthly charges for call forwarding, although customers will be responsible for any toll charges on forwarded calls and wireless airtime charges.

Residential customers who have been affected by the fire and want to set up call forwarding should call Verizon at 1-800-483-1000. Business customers should call 1-800-483-2000.

Verizon has set up banks of public phones at evacuation sites, which will allow evacuees to place a free call to relatives and friends anywhere in the United States.

Verizon crews are assessing the extent of the damage to the company's network in the burned areas, and construction crews will replace facilities as needed as soon as the crews are able to enter the area safely.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 67 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employed a diverse workforce of approximately 232,000 as of the end of the first quarter 2008 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.