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NEW YORK - Verizon officials are preparing for Hurricane Isabel as it bears down on the East Coast. Technicians are double-checking the backup power systems that continue providing phone service to customers whenever commercial power is lost, sandbagging low- lying equipment locations, and 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 Griffin, Verizon's vice president for emergency preparedness. "The bottom line is, if it is humanly possible, Verizon will continue providing service when a storm like this 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 Virginia 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," Griffin 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, Griffin added.
A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services, with approximately $67 billion in revenues and 221,000 employees. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 137.6 million access line equivalents and 34.6 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 14.6 million long-distance lines. The company 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.