Verizon Offers Local Businesses Phone Tips As Hurricane Isabel Approaches

NEW YORK - As Hurricane Isabel approached the mid-Atlantic coastline, Verizon issued the following reminders to local business phone customers in the immediate path of the major storm.

  • In the event of an electrical power outage, backup power in Verizon's local phone network will continue to supply dial tone to your office, unless the storm damages the lines connecting your business to the network.

  • Phones connected to private branch exchange (PBX) systems and key systems may not function during a power outage. A good solution is to have on hand a simple, inexpensive standard phone that does not need to be plugged into an electrical outlet. It can be connected directly into the phone jack in the telephone closet, if you lose power, and it will get all the electricity needed from the telephone lines. Keep a phone like that, along with a flashlight and spare batteries, in a convenient area in your business for emergency calls and other communications. These phones are available at most retail stores that carry home electronics.

  • Take the time now to locate important phone numbers and place them by your phone, so you don't have to look for them in the dark if you lose power. These numbers should include, for example, local emergency contacts, utility repair numbers, numbers of key suppliers and the phone numbers and codes to modify voice mail messages or activate call-management features such as call forwarding. Inform your employees where to call to get updates on the status of business operations and reporting instructions.

  • Re-charge all battery-powered devices, ranging from laptop computers to cell phones, so that you can use them if the power goes out. Also, check or change the batteries for your flashlights and portable radios. Charge up all battery powered equipment before storms hit, including laptop PCs.

  • If you have a dial-up Internet service, it will work, provided Verizon's phone line is working and your laptop battery is charged. If you have service that requires a router or modem that is powered by electricity, you may not be able to gain access if there is a power outage.

  • Prepare for manual processes in the event there are prolonged power outages or cable cuts that disable credit card authorization systems and computerized registers. These preparations may include alternatives for inventory control and other database updates that are typically done via communications between buildings.

  • Consider letting telecom services assist you in your efforts to preserve business continuity for your customers and your employees. For instance if you have Call Forwarding from Verizon and you have to leave your normal place of business, you can forward your calls to another location or to a wireless phone. Activate it before you leave, and your callers will never know that you are away from the office.

  • Phone answering machines and voice mail provided by office-based switches won't work, for example, but central office voice mail service provided by Verizon will continue to work without power at your office. You can check Verizon voice mail messages from any telephone and notify potential customers whether your business is open following the storm. You can also leave outgoing messages that provide an alternative phone number if you cannot get calls to the regular place of business.

  • If your office's interior has been prone to water damage in the past, take steps to protect sensitive equipment such as computers and phone sets. And follow power company recommendations on whether to disconnect sensitive equipment in the event you must shut down systems for a couple of days due to a power outage.

A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services, with approximately $67 billion in revenues and 221,000 employees. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 137.6 million access line equivalents and 34.6 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 14.6 million long-distance lines. The company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. Verizon's international presence includes wireline and wireless communications operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.