Irvine, CA — California fire fighters in the field and evacuees at shelters across the southland are relying on the Verizon Wireless network for help. The company has donated laptops with free internet access and cell phones with free airtime to help fire fighters battling wild fires and evacuees keep in touch with loved ones and obtain updates on the status of their homes and communities.
None of Verizon Wireless' cell sites were destroyed by fire. The network is operating at normal performance levels. Less than one percent of cell sites remain out of service in San Diego County, and fewer still in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. The company has used alternate routes and alternate technology to restore connectivity to isolated sites, has used generators to power sites lacking commercial power and is working to reconnect the remaining sites.
Support for emergency respondersVerizon Wireless has donated equipment and service to nineteen government agencies, including fire departments and forestry services. To date, the company has donated:
- More than 200 cell phones to make free phone calls to help battle fires and to keep in touch with family members 12 BroadbandAccess wireless cards to provide free Internet access
- 3 Cells on Light Truck (COLTs) to support coverage at the Orange County, Santa Clarita and Lake Arrowhead command centers
- 1 repeater at the Orange County command center at Irvine Park
Support for relief effortsTo assist evacuees, Verizon Wireless volunteers have staffed communication booths at Del Mar Race Track, El Toro High School, Orange Show Fairgrounds, Qualcomm Stadium, Rancho Bernardo Recreational Center and the Ramona Senior Center. Employee volunteer teams are shifted as shelters close and others open. Resources for the booths include a total of:
- 160 cell phones to make free phone calls
- 27 BroadbandAccess wireless cards to access the internet for free
"The devastation caused by these fires is unprecedented. It's affecting our customers, communities and employees" said John Palmer, Verizon Wireless Southern California regional president. "We know this is a marathon, not a 100-yard dash. We are committed to making a difference for the long haul."
Verizon Wireless' Southern California campus has been partially closed by smoke odor all week. Emergency and normal business operations continued as customer calls were routed to centers elsewhere in the western U.S. and many employees worked on laptops at home using the company's own wireless BroadbandAccess service.
About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 62.1 million customers. The largest US wireless company and largest wireless data provider, based on revenues, Verizon Wireless is headquartered in Basking Ridge, NJ, with 67,000 employees nationwide. The company is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.####