Verizon is prepared for California planned power shut offs; summary of Fall 2019 wildfire response
For additional information on our response efforts, please visit https://www.verizon.com/about/news/emergency-resource-center/california-wildfires
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We are prepared for planned power outages
As Californians face the continued threat of wildfires, utility providers are implementing public safety power shutoffs (PSPS) as a preventative measure when extreme weather events are forecasted. Several counties in Northern California are currently experiencing PSPS outages that are expected to last for 48 hours beginning November 20. As of 11:00 a.m. PST on November 21, Verizon’s network is not experiencing any impacts as a result of the current PSPS.
We know how important it is to stay connected when the power goes out, and we’re committed to making sure Verizon customers can use their mobile devices during California’s PSPS events.
We have backup batteries and permanent generators at the majority of our cell sites (towers) and all of our switch locations (network nerve centers), which we're able to refuel during extended power outages. We also have a fleet of portable generators that can be deployed when necessary. These backup energy sources help keep our network running when commercial power is lost.
While we are doing everything possible to minimize the impact of PSPS, there are discrete areas where we cannot install permanent or portable generators due to topographical or other technological constraints. In these rare cases, some customers may experience service disruptions or degraded network performance until commercial power is restored.
In the interest of transparency, Verizon will begin making available — on a public and non-confidential basis — information about the percentage of Verizon’s cell sites in service during disaster situations so that the California Public Utilities Commission, Cal OES, local first responders and the public at large can compare Verizon’s performance against aggregate industry data that is made available through the FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting (DIRS) reports.
How Verizon responded to the Fall 2019 wildfires
For the third straight year, weeks of dry winds and high temperatures kicked California’s 2019 fire season into high gear in late October. As residents in Northern and Southern California communities faced mandatory evacuations, thousands of firefighters battled several destructive wildfires across the state.
Our network and crisis response teams provided equipment and service to first responders, CalOES, and relief organizations throughout the state.
Here’s a recap of Verizon’s efforts:
Verizon’s wireless network was not impacted by the major wildfires that began in late October.
To alleviate billing concerns, Verizon waived call/text/data overage charges for customers in the areas that were most impacted by the Kincade, Tick, Getty, Hill and Easy Fires.
Recovering from the fires will take time. Verizon proudly supported the California Fire Foundation with a $100,000 grant to support ongoing relief efforts.
Partnering with first responders and the relief agencies that serve our communities is a top priority for us. During the fires, Verizon staff worked side by side with teams from local emergency operations centers (EOCs), California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the American Red Cross. In addition, we loaned equipment including phones, routers, mobile hotspots, tablets and charging cables to the following emergency response and relief organizations:
- 12 American Red Cross and Sonoma County evacuation shelters
- CAL FIRE base camp at Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa
- Sonoma County EOC
- Town of Windsor EOC
- American Red Cross evacuation shelter, College of the Canyons, Valencia
- American Red Cross evacuation shelter, West Ranch High School, Valencia
- Los Angeles County Fire Department
- Red Cross Headquarters
- American Red Cross evacuation shelter, Westwood Recreation Center, Los Angeles
- American Red Cross shelter, Thousand Oaks Recreation Center, Thousand Oaks
- American Red Cross shelter, Rancho Santa Susana Community Center, Simi Valley
- CAL FIRE base camp, Ventura County
- CAL FIRE training facility, Camarillo
- American Red Cross evacuation shelter, Camarillo Community Center, Camarillo
Saddle Ridge Fire
- American Red Cross evacuation shelter, Granada Hills
- American Red Cross evacuation shelter, Sylmar
- American Red Cross evacuation shelter, Northridge
- American Red Cross evacuation shelter, Chatsworth
- Los Angeles County Fire Department
- American Red Cross field operations
We’re committed to serving the communities where we live and work. Together, we can overcome whatever challenge comes our way. As many Californians are coping with loss after the recent wildfires, we want to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.