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EVERETT, Wash. - Verizon's telephone network was not damaged by Wednesday's 6.8 magnitude earthquake in the Pacific Northwest, but calling volumes were three times the normal rate.
The spike in phone calls is typical after natural disasters and the company manages its network to ensure that essential calls go through. Today, the company said that area residents can help and it offered tips that can ensure reliable phone service after future tremors and other natural disasters.
In the event of future earthquakes, residents should use the telephone only in emergencies. If thousands of people in an area pick up their phones at the same time, any telephone system will be overloaded.
Verizon provides these tips to its customers:
- Stay off the telephone after a natural disaster unless there is a critical need to make a call.
- Wait, if possible, to send e-mail. If you have to send messages, make them short. Heavy e-mail, especially large messages, and Internet usage in general can congest phone lines as much as phone calls.
- Call 911 for police, medical or fire emergencies only. Do not call 911 unnecessarily.
- Call the appropriate telephone number for other problems not related to police, fire or medical emergency services.
- Keep a corded phone in an accessible location. Cordless phones and some business phone systems may not work during a power outage.
- Have a list of non-emergency local phone numbers for police, fire and medical services in case 911 is unavailable.
- Designate an out-of-state contact in advance to let family and friends know that you are safe after an earthquake. That way, you'll only need to make one call to that contact.
- Wait a few seconds if you pick up the phone and don't hear a dial tone. If you dial and get a fast busy, try the call again in a few minutes. All circuits may be busy momentarily.
- Put receivers back on the hook if you see them dangling at a pay phone. They may have been knocked off during the tremors.
- Follow the troubleshooting tips in the front pages of your Verizon telephone directory if you experience other phone problems. If you are not able to isolate the problem to your equipment, call Verizon's Customer Care Center at: 1-800-483-1000 (residential) of 1-800-483-2000 (business).
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 nearly 109 million access line equivalents and more than 27.5 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the world's largest provider of print and online directory information. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and more than $63 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.