The storm that won’t quit — and neither will we.

By: Raquel Wilson
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications

The more Ida throws at us, the more V Teamers rise to the challenge.

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On today’s special edition of Up To Speed Live, host Raquel Wilson shared the following updates on the impact of Hurricane Ida on multiple regions of the U.S.:

The Northeast takes a beating

While the Gulf Coast continues to clean up from Hurricane Ida, the Northeast endured a rough night from the remnants of the same storm. V Teamers from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania shared images and videos of high winds, tornadoes and significant flooding.

In one example of the damage, a central office in Scarsdale, NY, was flooded, causing copper, fiber and wireless service interruptions from White Plains to Mount Vernon. Engineers are currently pumping water out and moving mobile equipment to that central office to restore service.

We are keeping all those affected in our thoughts and will keep you updated on our relief efforts.

Keeping Louisiana customers connected

We continue to work to restore service in parts of Louisiana impacted by the storm. Among the many crews working in the area, Field Assurance Engineer Matthew Williamson and his team benefit from having a variety of solutions at their disposal. For example, Matt showed how they have set up a piece of mobile equipment called a STEER to link a feed directly from a satellite to the local switch to work around damaged in-ground fiber.

“My team and I are going to stick it out until everything is up and working,” said Matthew. “We’re making it happen.”

Emergency talk/text/data offers extended

Up To Speed’s Diana Alvear shared the news that Verizon is extending unlimited talk, text and data to our customers in Louisiana by an additional seven days. This is for customers in parishes most affected by Ida.

WECC now in place

Our engineers continue to gain access to areas in Louisiana that were previously impassable to get a better understanding of the situation. At the same time, we’re able to move in bigger equipment into affected areas, including a Wireless Emergency Command Center (WECC) now fully operational in Hammond. We also have set up four charging stations for customers throughout Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

We continue to answer the needs of our first responder and government partners. As of Thursday morning, the Verizon Response Team had delivered more than 900 Verizon Frontline solutions to 38 public sector agencies in Southeastern Louisiana. Our thanks to them.

Retail return

While many of our team members in Louisiana and their communities are still dealing with storm-related cleanup and power outages, we have managed to re-open two stores, one in the Baton Rouge area and one in Slidell. We’ll hear more about this on tomorrow’s Up To Speed Live. It’s incredible how these team members are stepping up to help our customers at this time.

Worthy of MERIT

We were able to connect with the Major Emergency Response Incident Team (MERIT) working in Hammond, La. This is one of three industrial HASMAT teams made up of engineers who volunteer to be called up to serve during a disaster. “It’s just like a volunteer fire department,” said Kelly Reed, a MERIT lead. “We are on standby to support any major emergency that could restrict access for our technicians. If there’s a chemical spill or a battery runaway or any type of harsh environment, we’ll go in to restore the network.”

The team also has logistical assets like bunkhouse and accomodation trailers that offer showers, toilets and basic amenities that can provide a respite for first responders.

Thanks to the MERIT team for going above to ensure the safety of their fellow V Teamers.

California wildfire relief

We also have good news for our customers in the areas most impacted by the recent wildfires in California, including the Caldor, Dixie, French and Monument fires. They will receive unlimited calling, texting and data. If you’re eligible, you don’t have to do anything to get this relief. It went into effect yesterday and runs through September 7.

VtoV Fund

Hearing these updates reminds us of how important it is to come together and help. Raquel reminded all of us to consider a donation to the VtoV Employee Relief Fund, which is an easy way to give back to our colleagues who may have been displaced during this time. Thanks to those who have already donated.

If you have any questions, email them to

Click here for a transcript of the webcast.

Get the latest information on our Coronavirus Resource Page (Inside Verizon, The Street).

Tell us what you think of Up To Speed.

About the author:

Raquel Wilson is a former adfellow who now enjoys keeping the V Team up to date on all things Verizon as a host of Up To Speed. You can always rely on her to have a good book recommendation and a latte she probably paid way too much for.

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