Verizon National Disaster Recovery Exercise Begins in Washington, D.C., Area

In an environment where communications networks are one of the most critical business assets for a company or government agency, Verizon will host its national disaster recovery exercise at one of its major facilities and show customers how critical communications infrastructure can be restored when impacted during catastrophic events.

The exercise begins Monday (April 12).  The scenario: Two planes - a commercial airliner and a smaller private aircraft - collide in mid-air over northern Virginia.  Debris from the airliner lands on Verizon's large Ashburn campus, only a few miles from the Dulles International Airport, and pieces from the smaller plane fall into a nearby Verizon network field operation garage where several company vehicles are parked.  Immediately, a call will be placed to Verizon's Business Continuance and Emergency Management team, which will activate Verizon's National Emergency Coordination Center, and the disaster recovery exercise will be under way.

"No matter what type of catastrophic event occurs, we must be prepared to facilitate immediate recovery so we can continue serving our enterprise, government and consumer customers even in the most difficult conditions," said Dick Price, Verizon wireline chief business continuance officer.  "One of the best ways we can test our emergency response procedures and skills is during training exercises. Training also helps us improve our response time."

Verizon has had many real-world experiences protecting and restoring the network during the last several years after natural disasters including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike; tornadoes in the Midwest; floods in Iowa; and forest fires in southern California, as well as human-caused events like the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This year, during the training exercises, the response groups will face a variety of new obstacles to overcome to keep company functions operational.

Verizon brought numerous vehicles and trailers from its disaster recovery fleet, including the company's new 51-foot mobile communications command center, to the Ashburn campus for the team to use during the exercise.  The company also has engaged its 30-member Major Emergency Response Incident Team (MERIT), which is experienced at protecting and restoring the company's network assets during hazardous-materials situations throughout the U.S.  The MERIT team will conduct additional drills during its annual weeklong training.

Verizon also will highlight its "smart credentialing" services at the exercise.  When used for disaster recovery activities, this service enables authorities to electronically confirm identities and skills of emergency responders arriving at a disaster scenes. Only those with proper credentials would be allowed into specific areas to work.

"All of these resources are tremendous assets not only for the continuity of Verizon's business operations, but also for our enterprise and government customers," Price said.  "Since we work closely with government agencies during disasters, we have invited several of our federal customers to attend our disaster recovery exercise this week."

Verizon customers and guests attending the disaster exercise and hazmat drills in Ashburn also will have the opportunity to see and tour the company's "zero infrastructure" disaster recovery fleet including the mobile command communications center, satellite trailer, hazmat support vehicles, accommodation/housing trailer and comfort trailer (shower/toilet/wash basin).  Since Verizon's response fleet is completely self-contained and needs no infrastructure during deployment, the rigs can be sent to any region in the U.S., even if the location has been devastated as would be the case in a major hurricane or earthquake.

(NOTE: Several members of the Verizon Business Continuance and Emergency Management team and Verizon's MERIT team will be available for interviews.  The disaster exercise at the Verizon Ashburn Campus, 22001 Loudoun County Parkway, is open to the media on Tuesday (April 13) between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Photo and video opportunities are available for the disaster recovery fleet, which is seldom on view in one location. Photos of the Verizon Business MERIT team can be downloaded here.)

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 mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 91 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of approximately 222,900 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.