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BALTIMORE, Md. - Verizon officials are preparing for Hurricane Charley in anticipation of its expected move up the East Coast. Technicians are double-checking the backup power systems that continue to provide phone service to customers whenever commercial power is lost and are prepared to sandbag low-lying equipment locations if necessary, and management is prepared 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 Christopher M. Creager, Verizon's senior vice president of network services in the Mid-Atlantic region. "The bottom line is, Verizon is prepared and will do its absolute best to continue to provide service when a powerful storm strikes."
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 or 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.
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, Creager added.
In the event service is lost in Verizon's territory, repair crews will begin restoring service once it is deemed safe to work. 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 rain, strong winds or fallen trees.
Customers can help by being patient and by limiting reports of trouble to only one call.
Verizon Wireless has backup power at most of its cell sites, with portable generators available to be deployed as needed.
Verizon and Verizon Wireless offer customers these easy tips to be safer during severe storms and other times of crisis:
- If you have a cordless phone in your home, be aware that it probably will not work if you lose electrical power. A good solution is to keep handy a standard phone that does not need to be plugged into an electrical outlet. A simple, inexpensive traditional telephone can be connected directly into the phone jack if you lose power, and it will get all the electricity needed from the telephone lines. Keep a phone like that, along with a flashlight and spare batteries, in a convenient area in your home. These phones are available at most retail stores that carry home electronics.
- Take the time now to locate important phone numbers and place them by your phone, so you don't have to look for them in the dark if you lose power. These numbers should include, for example, local emergency contacts and the phone numbers of relatives, neighbors and friends you might want to check in with during the storm.
- Gather as much storm preparation information as you can from official local, state and federal government authorities.
- Take stock of what else will work if you lose electric power. Phone answering machines won't work, for example, but voice mail service provided by Verizon will continue to work without power at your home. You can check Verizon voice mail messages from any telephone.
- LKeep wireless phone batteries charged - in case local power is lost - well before the storm hits. Also, check or change the batteries for your flashlights and portable radios.
- 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.
- Program emergency phone numbers - police, fire, and rescue agencies; power companies; insurance providers; family, friends and co-workers - into your wireless phone.
- Distribute wireless phone numbers to family members and friends.
- When dialing 9-1-1 from a wireless phone, 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.