Verizon teams across southern Texas are completing the many tasks required to prepare the Verizon communications network for the challenges of Tropical Storm Alex, whether wind, rain or flooding. Consumers also can prepare for possible impacts as well.
Verizon provides landline phone service to residences and businesses in a number of communities in the Rio Grande Valley, including La Feria, Lyford, Raymondville, Rio Grande City, Roma, Santa Rosa and Weslaco.
"At Verizon, we know how critical communications are during and after severe storms, and our customers can count on Verizon's network to weather the storm," said George Espersen, Verizon area manager - customer operations. "We've learned over the past 100-plus years what we need to do to minimize the impact of Mother Nature on our network so that service is maintained and we can respond quickly and effectively when problems do develop."
The Verizon network is a complex collection of assets, from buildings to transmission facilities to vehicles and people, and Verizon's regional control center has been preparing for possible flooding, power outages and downed trees and wires from the storm's aftermath. For example, sandbags are being readied where they may be needed, and portable equipment like trucks and specialized gear is being moved from low-lying areas, where possible. Building sump pumps are being tested, and drains and gutters cleared.
Verizon teams are also reviewing the inventory of supplies like utility poles, cable and other equipment and are planning for staffing of essential positions.
"Verizon's phone service is renowned for its reliability," Espersen said. "When other services go down, the Verizon-powered landline phone works. That's what we work to assure."
The telecommunications network requires power. If commercial power goes out, backup batteries and generators in Verizon's central switching offices or field facilities keep power flowing so customers' phones ring even when the lights go out. Fuel tanks for the generators, vehicles and other equipment are being topped off. Portable generators are being tested and fueled as well.
Customer Check List
Verizon suggests customers prepare for the storm by taking the following steps:
- If you have a cordless phone, get an inexpensive corded phone that plugs directly into the wall. If the power goes out, cordless phones won't work even though the line is still active. However, corded phones will work. In addition, answering machines won't work, but Verizon voice mail service - which is powered by the network - will work and can serve as a convenient family message board.
- Make contact lists and create communications plans for loved ones before the storm comes. If you are evacuated or are otherwise unreachable, make plans to communicate via wireless calling, text messaging, the Internet or other alternatives available at relocation sites.
- Charge up all battery-powered devices you might be able to use, from wireless phones and PDAs to laptop computers, flashlights and radios. And check your supply of batteries.
- Check your local emergency-readiness authorities for their recommendations and advisories about the situation in your area. Be sure to check back with them if the situation gets worse.
- If you live in a flood-prone area, protect sensitive equipment like computers and TVs by getting them as high above ground as you can so when service comes back up, you'll be back in business quickly.
Customers can contact Verizon at 1-800-VERIZON (1-800-837-4966) to report any service-related issue or to report an outage.
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 mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 93 million customers nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 217,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.