NEW YORK – All hands on deck has become routine for Verizon’s Business Continuity and Emergency Management team during the first nine months of a busy 2013. From the U.S. presidential inauguration and parade in Washington, D.C., in January to the devastating floods in Colorado last week, the team uses an all-hazards approach to emergency management to plan, and respond to each incident. This approach is designed for responding and recovering from a wide range of natural and technological disasters.
“As a global communications solutions provider, we are concerned about events going on anywhere in the world that may impact our network and service to our customers,” said Dick Price, chief business continuity officer for Verizon’s corporate and wireline organizations. “By using an all-hazards approach to plan and respond to these events, we can use the same management principles regardless of the type of incident.”
This year, the company has already responded after the devastating F-5 tornadoes in Moore and El Reno, Okla.; the Black Forest fire north of Colorado Springs; recent Colorado floods; California wildfires; multiple winter storms; several man-made incidents and special events.
As one of the largest communication service providers to enterprise, government, wholesale, and medium- and small-business customers and consumers, Verizon must be prepared to respond to a broad array of contingencies that could impact the company’s wireline network infrastructure, facilities and employees around the world. To maintain continuity of business, the company prepares for and monitors major events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, earthquakes floods, wildfires, winter storms, train derailments, hazardous material incidents, pandemics, acts of terrorism, workplace violence and civil unrest.
Since the company offers network solutions in more than 150 countries and 2,700 cities worldwide, Verizon has certified business continuity professionals supporting North, Central and South America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and the Asia-Pacific region, Australia and India.
Verizon has developed several key assets that help the company prepare at varying levels to respond to incidents. One of the assets, the Information Sharing and Analysis Center, provides an early warning by giving Verizon staff the ability to monitor world events for potentially disruptive developments. The situational information is analyzed and disseminated to Verizon organizations that may have employees or assets in harm’s way so they become aware of events that could impact the company’s operations.
When a major incident occurs, Verizon activates its National Emergency Coordinating Center in Richardson, Texas. This center is responsible for engaging the appropriate Verizon departments worldwide to develop overall priorities and coordinate the execution of a single-incident action plan of recovery and restoration activities until the incident no longer threatens Verizon.
The company also has the communication industry’s first and most experienced hazmat team, called MERIT – Major Emergency Response Incident Team. This team, currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, protects thousands of miles of the company’s communications network assets and administrative buildings during natural disasters or hazardous materials incidents. During September, MERIT is taking advantage of National Preparedness Month in the U.S. by hosting one of its three annual regional training exercises near Indianapolis. The 30-member team also participates in one national exercise annually. MERIT members are trained under Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Fire Protection Association guidelines, which are the certification guidelines used by fire department hazardous materials teams in the U.S.
During events, Verizon also can deploy its Emergency Response Mobile Communications Service Fleet, which provides critical communications services in a disaster area. The company also has a disaster recovery fleet, which includes the 51-foot Verizon Mobile Command Center, two 53-foot emergency communications calling centers and one 40-foot executive coach emergency communications center.
“Our all-hazards approach to emergency management means planning and preparation are critical to everything we do,” Price said. “Verizon has a strong business continuity and emergency management team, but our real strength is bringing together all Verizon assets, resources and employees during an incident. We hit the streets quickly. We speak the same language as the public safety officials in charge of the overall incident. And we get the job done for our customers.”
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 100 million retail connections nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries. A Dow 30 company with nearly $116 billion in 2012 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of 180,900. For more information, visit about.verizon.com.