THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Verizon Foundation will donate $25,000 to the American Red Cross to aid those Californians forced to flee their homes in the face of devastating wildfires that have swept across the region.
"Our prayers and hopes go out to our fellow Californians as they strive to cope with the impact of these firestorms," said Verizon Pacific Region President Tim McCallion. "Through this contribution and by providing additional telecommunication services to those in need, we hope we can make their lives a little easier at a very trying time."
The grant goes to the Inland Empire chapter of the American Red Cross in San Bernardino, which is caring for thousands of evacuees.
Verizon is working with customers who were evacuated to provide various services that will help them cope with being away from home for an extended period. The company has set up banks of payphones at some Red Cross evacuation sites, which will allow evacuees to place a free call to relatives and friends anywhere in the United States. On Monday, Verizon donated more than 400 prepaid calling cards to the Red Cross in San Bernardino for distribution to evacuees as well as firefighters who are battling the blazes.
Despite the widespread fires, Verizon's Southern California network remained largely unaffected Monday. Approximately 6,000 lines were reported out of service. Some outages were the result of direct fire damage to Verizon lines and equipment, and others were attributed to drained backup batteries in electronic equipment in areas that had lost electrical power. Verizon technicians are stockpiling materials and preparing to enter the affected areas to restore service as soon as fire department officials declare it safe to do so.
The company's overall network continued to operate normally throughout the rest of the state as some switching systems and other electronic equipment switched to emergency backup power when commercial power was lost.
A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services, with approximately $67 billion in revenues and 221,000 employees. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 137.6 million access line equivalents and 34.6 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 14.6 million long-distance lines. The company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. Verizon's international presence includes wireline and wireless communications operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com