Verizon network operations teams from North Carolina to Maine are completing the many tasks required to prepare the Verizon communications network for any potential effects of Hurricane Earl as it nears the East Coast. The company also encourages consumers, business and government customers to make preparations as well.
"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 Tom Maguire, senior vice president of operations for Verizon's eastern area. "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 is preparing for possible flooding, power outages and downed trees and wires from Earl's aftermath. For example, generators are being fueled and tested and portable equipment like trucks and specialized gear is being moved from low-lying areas, where possible. Building sump pumps are also 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.
The telecommunications network, like your home, requires power to function properly. 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.
Customer Check List
Verizon suggests customers prepare for Earl by taking the following steps:
- If you rely solely on cordless phones in your home, you should consider getting an inexpensive hard-wired phone that plugs directly into your home's wall jacks. Cordless phones will not function without commercial power, but corded phones will work in the event of a loss of commercial power.
- Remember home answering machines won't work without power, but Verizon voice mail service - which is powered by the network - will work and can serve as a convenient family message board.
- Charge all battery-powered devices before the storm hits, including wireless phones and PDAs, laptop computers, personal entertainment devices (like MP3 players), flashlights and radios. And check your supply of batteries.
- Many people keep all of their contact information in their PCs or wireless devices. Make contact lists and create communications plans for loved ones before the storm hits. 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.
- Top off all vehicle and generator fuel tanks before the storm - gas pumps also rely on commercial power.
- 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.
Verizon enterprise and government customers are encouraged to review their business continuity plans to prepare for any possible impact as the result of Hurricane Earl.
Verizon also has the industry's first environmental hazmat response team, called the Major Emergency Response Incident Team (MERIT), on standby to deploy immediately if needed. This team is specially trained for rapid deployment to deal with hazardous materials emergencies involving or threatening Verizon's critical communications facilities or infrastructure, or other company assets.
If needed, Verizon's Business Continuity and Emergency Management organization also is ready to activate its National Emergency Coordination Center (NECC). This center is the single source where key Verizon decision makers from all areas of the company are brought together to make deployment decisions and promote fast, effective recovery performance for the Verizon network during emergency situations.
Consumer customers can contact Verizon at 1-800-VERIZON (1-800-837-4966) or online at www.verizon.com/support to report any service-related issue. Business customers should contact their regular customer service centers or account teams as needed. (NOTE: Verizon Wireless is providing some storm preparation tips in a news release at www.verizonwireless.com/news.)
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 more than 92 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 last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.