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TAMPA, Fla. - Verizon officials are preparing for Hurricane Charley as it bears down on the Florida Gulf Coast. Technicians are double-checking the backup power systems that continue to provide phone service to customers whenever commercial power is lost and sandbagging low-lying equipment locations, and management is preparing to send extra crews into storm-damaged areas.
"We know that local and long-distance phone service and, especially, emergency services such as 911 are critical during times like these," said John Ferrell, Verizon's market area president for the Southeast. "The bottom line is, if it is humanly possible, Verizon will continue providing service when a powerful storm hits."
All Verizon central offices - which perform the essential functions of supplying dial tone and routing calls and data transmissions for customers - are equipped with backup batteries and generators that kick in automatically if the electrical power supply is interrupted. In addition, other critical parts of the network located away from the central offices have battery backups.
In addition to checking generators and making sure their fuel tanks are full, Verizon is taking other steps to prepare. These include sandbagging key buildings and other facilities in low-lying areas that are prone to flooding -- such as along the coastline. If necessary, Verizon is prepared to dispatch additional technicians to an area where help is needed to repair individual lines and cables that might be damaged by heavy winds and fallen trees.
"In addition to preparing to minimize any damage, we stand ready to restore as quickly as possible any network damage that might occur," Ferrell said.
Verizon's nationwide network is monitored round the clock, and the company has the ability to re-route traffic around some areas that might be damaged by the storm, ensuring the continued flow of inter-city and long-distance voice and data traffic, Ferrell added.
In the event service is lost in any of Verizon's service areas, repair crews will begin restoring service in areas that have been affected once it has been deemed safe to work. Customers can help by being patient and by limiting reports of trouble to only one call.
Verizon Wireless also is preparing its network, and offers residents these easy tips to be safer during severe storms and other times of crisis:
- Keep wireless phone batteries charged - in case local power is lost - well before warnings are issued.
- Have additional fully charged batteries and car-charger adapters available for backup power.
- Keep phones, batteries, chargers and other equipment in a dry, accessible location.
- Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers - police, fire, and rescue agencies; power companies; insurance providers; family, friends and co-workers; etc. - and program them into your phone.
- Distribute wireless phone numbers to family members and friends.
- When dialing 9-1-1, remember to hit the "Send" key and state your location.
A Dow 30 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services, with approximately $68 billion in annual revenues. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States. Verizon 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.