LEAGUE CITY, Texas - Verizon, which provides local telephone service to about 225,000 customers in Southeast Texas, has implemented its disaster preparedness plan in anticipation that Hurricane Lili will generate heavy, sustained winds and widespread flooding that could impact communications in Southeast Texas.
The company has taken the preemptive action to ensure that its residential and business customers will continue to have phone service after Lili arrives along the Texas coast.
"While it is unclear where Hurricane Lili will hit or how significant the storm will be, we've mobilized to handle the impact of this storm and we'll work around the clock if needed to ensure our customers have reliable service" said Mary Jane Johnston, region president, operations, Verizon Texas.
"We've activated our storm tracking center; we've opened up our emergency operations center in League City and we're taking the steps necessary to maintain service to our customers and to quickly repair any potential damage to our phone lines. We also have extensive safeguards and procedures in place to protect our network during severe weather emergencies," Johnston said.
The company's technicians have checked emergency generators and backup power systems that help the company to continue supplying dial tone if commercial power is lost in its call-switching offices.
Sandbags have been filled and deployed to low water sites near Verizon central offices. In addition, portable generators have been tested and placed in staging areas so they can be deployed throughout the Baytown/League City area as needed.
Verizon this week also installed watertight doors in every entrance to its central office buildings in Southeast Texas. These specially designed doors have rubber bladders that are filled with air to seal off the bottom half of a doorway to prevent water from entering the central offices which house electronic switching and transmission equipment. Verizon also plans to cover its critical electronic equipment in central offices with plastic rolls.
The company is prepared to move workers to hard hit areas. Verizon technicians in the area have been placed on high alert, and the company will dispatch additional employees from other areas of the state to restore phone service as needed.
"We will continue to monitor Lili closely to ensure we have sufficient employees on duty and in the right places to keep all our customers connected," Johnston said.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 135.1 million access line equivalents and 30.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 241,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.