Verizon Wireless Prepares For Mother Nature's Call

Verizon Wireless Prepares For Mother Nature's Call

Year-Round Planning Keeps Wireless Service Running During Natural Disasters

May 21, 2001



If severe weather strikes the Carolinas, Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless communications provider, is ready to respond to Mother Nature's call.

Throughout the year, Verizon Wireless prepares for natural disasters by testing its numerous dual 500 kilo-volt amperage diesel generators. The generators, which sound like jet engines when running, hold up to 6,000 gallons of fuel and can keep Verizon Wireless' network running for at least two weeks without conventional power.

"Every week we test generators ensuring everything will work properly during emergencies," said Frank Cairon, executive director - Network for Verizon Wireless' Carolinas region. "During Hurricane Floyd we placed staff on-call to ensure our wireless service remained operational while the storm pounded the Carolinas. We're planning to do the same if a hurricane strikes this year."

According to Cairon, when Hurricane Floyd struck the Carolinas in 1999, Verizon Wireless did not lose any of its wireless service and plans for the same results this year.

"When landline phone service is lost due to a natural disaster such as a hurricane, wireless service can prove to be a vital source of communication," Cairon said. "If power fails, generators keep our wireless service up and running. Additionally, the towers used to place our antennas meet federal safety regulations requiring the stability to withstand high winds."

Hurricane forecaster William Gray, a professor at Colorado State University known for predicting hurricanes, has projected the possibility of 10 named storms, six hurricanes and two intense (Saffir-Simpson category three or higher) hurricanes from June 1 to Oct. 30. Reports also say the probability of one or more major hurricanes reaching landfall along the U.S. coastline in 2001 is 65 percent, compared with the past century's average of 52 percent.

Verizon Wireless has also set aside hundreds of fully-functional wireless phones to be loaned to police, emergency personnel and the American Red Cross agencies throughout the Southeast region if landline phone services fail.

Verizon Wireless offers these tips to keep wireless phones working during an emergency:

  • Charge wireless phone batteries well before warnings are issued
  • Have additional fully-charged batteries or cigarette lighter adapters available for back-up power
  • Maintain a list of emergency numbers
  • Distribute wireless phone numbers to family members and friends
  • When dialing 9-1-1, remember to hit the "Send" key and state your location

    Editor's Note: Carolinas region network locations are in Charlotte, N.C., Raleigh, N.C., Greensboro, N.C., Greenville, S.C., Charleston, S.C., Florence, S.C. and Columbia, S.C.

    To set up an interview contact:

    • North Carolina - Brian Chandler at 704.374.9300
    • South Carolina - Meagan Bretches at 864.672.5560

    About Verizon Wireless

    Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 27 million wireless voice and data customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD), including Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless and PrimeCo Personal Communications. Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.