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Reliability matters when it comes to communications. Verizon personnel prepare year-round to deliver strong and reliable services for our customers – wireless and landline – to help them stay connected in case severe weather, wildfires, or other hazards impact our communities.
Verizon continues to work on staging and testing emergency response equipment, scheduling fuel deliveries, reinforcing network assets and other logistics to buttress service and respond in the case of emergency. These efforts are underpinned by the company’s long-term investment in its networks – both in big cities and less-populated areas.
“We didn’t just begin thinking about network reliability at the beginning of hurricane season, or when individual storms or incidents pop up, ” said Nicola Palmer, senior vice president and chief network officer of Verizon Wireless. "Our networks are designed from the ground up with reliability in mind – for individuals, businesses, emergency responders and everyone who needs to stay connected. Making a long-term commitment matters to customers."
Better matters most in times of emergency.
When a storm is predicted, nearly every area of our business is impacted. We focus on three key areas: our employees, our tools and our customers.
- A foundation of network “super-switch” processing centers in some states designed to withstand Category 5 hurricanes. These facilities – which handle tens of millions of calls and connections even on a crisis-free day – feature hardened shells, large-scale on-site power generation and other back-up systems to ensure the company’s network remains strong, running and reliable. The super-switches also serve as Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) for Verizon personnel, as well as local first-responders.
- Fleets of mobile communication units such as Cells On Wheels (COWs), Cells On Light Trucks (COLTs), Cellular Repeaters On Wheels (CROWs) and Generators On A Trailer (GOATs) that can be quickly deployed to hard-hit areas needing extra communication capacity.
- Back-up generators permanently built directly into most cell sites and located at network facilities to maintain coverage even in the event of a prolonged power outage.
- Pre-arranged fuel deliveries in case of a storm, with tankers poised and in position to quickly respond to hard-hit areas.
- A dedicated Verizon Business Continuity program that trains employees nationwide in crisis management, business continuity and disaster recovery; conducts regular mock emergencies; and works in close conjunction with police, fire and other public safety agencies to prepare and respond to storms and other crises.
Tips to stay safe during the storm.
- Store phones, tablets, batteries, chargers and other equipment in a dry, accessible location. Simple zip-lock storage bags will shield devices, and today there are many waterproof phones, cases and other protective accessories.
- Keep phone and tablet batteries fully charged – in case local power is lost – well before warnings are issued.
- Review the winter storm checklist and power outage checklist from the American Red Cross
- Have additional charged batteries and car-charger adapters available for back-up power. Numerous chargers, including solar-powered devices, make it easy to stay powered up.
- Maintain a list of emergency numbers – police and fire agencies; power and insurance companies; family, friends and co-workers; etc. – and program them into your wireless devices before an emergency arises.
- Use your tablet to photograph and catalogue your valuables and other household belongings for possible insurance claims.
- Choose from hundreds of free weather-, news- and safety-related apps and services for smartphones and tablets, the American Red Cross app, Weather: Universal Forecast, The Weather Channel, Weather Underground, and NOAA Now and other mobile resources from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
History has shown that preparation pays off.
Verizon has a long track record of helping the communities it serves both during and after severe weather and natural disasters.Since 2001, Verizon employees have responded to more than 30 emergency situations through the company’s Disaster Relief Incentive Program (DRIP) including Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake, and tornadoes in Missouri and Alabama.