NEW YORK – Whether a natural or man-made disaster, running to a crisis to restore network facilities or help communities with communications needs during the critical hours after a catastrophic event is second nature for Verizon employees. This is possible due to proper planning, preparation and training in which employees engage throughout the year, including September, which is National Preparedness Month in the U.S.
During the last five years, Verizon has responded to numerous tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, wildfires and other events to help repair damaged network facilities and provide critical communications for first responders and other government agencies.
“No matter what type of catastrophic event occurs, we must be prepared to facilitate immediate response and recovery so we can continue serving our consumer, small and medium business, enterprise, government and wholesale customers in the U.S. and throughout the world,” said Kent Kildow, Verizon’s chief business continuity officer for wireline. “Since we don’t always know what type of event may occur on any given day, we use an all-hazards approach to our emergency-management operations, which allows us to plan and prepare for almost any type of event.”
(NOTE: See related Verizon Enterprise Solutions news center story providing business continuity tips for enterprise and government.)
When major incidents occur, the Verizon Business Continuity and Emergency Management team activates its National Emergency Coordinating Center in Richardson, Texas. This center is responsible for engaging the appropriate Verizon departments to develop overall priorities and coordinate the execution of a single-incident action plan including both recovery and restoration activities. During natural disasters, the Verizon Network Operations team is one of the most active groups working with the NECC.
Verizon network field personnel can be some of the people on site to inspect network conditions after storms or other catastrophic events devastate an area. Once local officials declare an area is safe to enter, Verizon employees use their training and expertise to locate damaged network facilities and begin restoration efforts.
“The earlier we can get access the damaged areas, the more quickly we can make repairs to the network and restore impacted services to our customers,” Kildow said. “Our network and field operations teams are some of the best and most experienced in the industry. Our employees keep safety foremost in their minds and work round-the-clock to get the job done for our customers.”
If hazardous materials prevent Verizon’s local field operations teams from quickly entering an area after a catastrophic incident near Verizon’s infrastructure, the company can deploy its hazmat team, called MERIT – Major Emergency Response Incident Team. The 30-member team protects thousands of miles of the company’s communications network, technical sites and administrative buildings during disasters and hazardous materials events. Founded in 1993 as the communications industry’s first hazmat team, MERIT conducts training exercises and regional drills throughout the year.
Verizon’s ability to respond quickly to help communities after disasters like destructive storms and wildfires stems from extensive planning and preparation. Verizon can deploy its wireline Emergency Response Teams and the Satellite Solutions Group as well as and wireless Crisis Response Teams. These teams are equipped with a Crisis Response Fleet to help support communications needs of first responders, government agencies and Verizon’s response. The company can offer satellite, wireless and wireline communications services from the Crisis Response Fleet.
As one of the largest global communications service providers to enterprise, government and wholesale customers, Verizon has certified business continuity professionals supporting North, Central and South America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa; the Asia-Pacific region, Australia and India.