From Paris, France, to Paris, Texas, finding Santa Claus on Christmas Eve will be as easy as making a phone call.
Verizon Business will team with the North American Aerospace Defense Command to provide and answer the NORAD Tracks Santa hotline so children of all ages can follow Santa Claus' trip around the globe.
Starting Dec. 24 at 2 a.m. Mountain Time, to 3 a.m. on Dec. 25, children across the U.S. and Canada can call 1-877-HI-NORAD to determine Santa's exact location. (Callers outside North America can reach the hotline by dialing the local Colorado Springs number at 719-556-5211, using the appropriate country code. International charges can apply.)
In 2009, more than 74,000 calls were answered at the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center at Peterson Air Force Base.
This year, more than 1,200 volunteers representing military personnel from Colorado Springs, their families and friends, and NORAD Tracks Santa corporate sponsor team members -- including members from Verizon Business -- will be manning the NORAD Santa tracking hotline to inform children of Santa's whereabouts during his yuletide journey.
Children, their parents and the young-at-heart also can visit the NORAD Tracks Santa Web site (www.noradsanta.org), which provides real-time information on Santa's exact location. The information is available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Chinese -- along with radar maps and streaming "SantaCam'' video images from cities along Santa's journey.
"The tradition of NORAD tracking Santa has evolved over the years - expanding to a website and adding social media bells and whistles," said Jamie Graybeal, NORAD's deputy chief of staff, communications. "But the Santa hotline remains at the heart of our efforts to make it possible for the children to call NORAD to speak to a live operator to find out where Santa is on Christmas Eve."
This marks the 55th year that NORAD, the binational U.S. and Canadian military organization responsible for the aerospace defense of both countries, has tracked Santa around the globe. The tradition started by accident in 1955 after a local newspaper misprint prompted children to call the Continental Air Defense Command (NORAD's predecessor) instead of a special Santa hotline phone number.
After hearing youngsters ask if they could speak to Santa, the colonel on duty at the time told the children he could see Santa on the radar screens, heading south from the North Pole - and a tradition was born.
"We are proud to do our part and donate time and network resources to a tradition that warms the hearts of children at Christmastime," said Susan Zeleniak, group president, Verizon Federal. "Helping NORAD track Santa reflects Verizon's commitment to helping people stay connected around the world.''
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