NEW YORK – With the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season kicking off on June 1, Verizon’s nationwide networks – and the skilled teams that operate them – stand ready to continue serving consumers, businesses and government customers.
Verizon, which operates some of the most advanced and reliable wireline and wireless networks in the world, reviews and updates its emergency preparedness plans each year to be ready for a wide range of natural and man-made events. The company also conducts drills throughout the year to test the readiness of its networks and backup power systems in the event of a disaster.
“Preparation is the key for responding to the aftermath of hurricanes or other disasters,” said Dick Price, Verizon’s chief business continuity officer. “Verizon uses an all-hazards approach to emergency management, meaning that we plan for almost any type of event that could affect our business operations.
“We’re constantly evaluating what we can do to better prepare for a major weather event, how to maintain service during the event, and how to quickly make repairs when and if network damage occurs,” Price said. “We also have a team of business continuity experts standing by to coordinate a rapid response to any emergency.”
The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially begins on June 1 and runs through Nov. 30, has been predicted to be an active period. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms for the Atlantic hurricane season, including up to six major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5).
Preparation Is Key
Verizon business continuity teams and network personnel closely monitor potential threats to Verizon facilities anywhere in the country and complete necessary preparations. This includes confirming staff schedules; testing and confirming fuel supplies for backup generators; adding critical inventory, such as spare smartphone batteries and car chargers to meet customer demand; moving vehicles and other portable equipment from threatened areas; and stocking critical supplies in centralized locations for rapid deployment to hard-hit areas.
The Verizon communications networks require power to operate. If commercial power fails, backup batteries and generators have been installed in the company’s switching centers, many cell sites and other key technical facilities to keep power flowing to deliver services to customers. Portable generators also are available for deployment to storm-stricken facilities when needed.
Employees are on standby to respond to any crisis in the event network equipment is impacted or when emergency first-responder or customer support is required. Verizon can also deploy employees from unaffected parts of the country to help restore services in hard-hit areas. The company can deploy its hazmat team, called MERIT (Major Emergency Response Incident Team), within a few hours of receiving an assignment.
When a major incident occurs, Verizon activates its National Emergency Coordinating Center. The center engages more than 65 Verizon departments worldwide, develops overall incident priorities, and coordinates the execution of a single-incident action plan of recovery and restoration activities until the incident no longer is a threat.
Verizon also can deploy its Emergency Response Mobile Communications Service fleet, which can provide critical communication services for business and government customers anywhere in North America. Using specially equipped vehicles and trailers, Verizon technical experts can reestablish communications for customers during unplanned disruptions. Each vehicle has been converted into an advanced mobile communications facility offering voice and Internet capabilities.
The company’s disaster recovery fleet, which can be deployed to either coast within 24 hours, includes a 51-foot mobile command center. The command center features highly sophisticated communications equipment, with ample space for emergency responders, government officials and Verizon employees during events that affect Verizon’s communications network in the U.S.
(Note: For more information on emergency preparedness, including helpful tips for consumers and businesses from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, visit www.ready.gov. Verizon will include updates on preparations for and response to hurricanes or other serious natural or man-made events at www.verizon.com/news, www.verizonwireless.com/news, or http://www.verizonenterprise.com/about/news/.)
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with nearly 99 million retail connections nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500. A Dow 30 company with nearly $116 billion in 2012 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of 181,900. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.