02.18.2021 Updated on  02.20.2021|Emergency Management

Verizon response: coast-to-coast winter storm update

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February 20 Update


What you need to know:

  • Verizon Foundation makes $250,000 donation to Feeding Texas to aid in winter storm relief efforts

  • Verizon’s network continues to support customers and first responders in the midst of widespread severe weather and power outages

Following this week’s historic winter storms, the Verizon Foundation is making a $250,000 donation to Feeding Texas to support immediate relief efforts in communities across the state. The organization will use the funds to help relieve hunger, an issue which was further exacerbated by the storms.

“As a member of these vibrant Texas communities Verizon is ready to support first responders, our customers and employees impacted by these catastrophic storms,” said Hans Vestberg, Chairman and CEO of Verizon. “We believe it’s critical to support our communities during a crisis, and to help them recover and rebuild after a storm has passed.”

“Hundreds of thousands of Texans impacted by the storm will turn to food banks in the days and weeks to come, on top of the millions already struggling to feed their families during the pandemic,” said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas. “On behalf of the 21 food banks in the Feeding Texas network, we are grateful to the Verizon Foundation for their support of our relief efforts. This donation will help Texas food banks keep their communities nourished and resilient through this crisis.”

Verizon customers can also assist in relief efforts by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 and $10 will be added to their Verizon bill and donated to American Red Cross upon confirmation of the billing zip code. American Red Cross is supporting at least 35 warming centers with cots and blankets across the state and more.

Customers also can text RESCUE to 52000 to give a one-time $10 donation to the Salvation Army USA, which is providing shelter, food, and other necessary items to those in need.

Network Update

Our engineers are out in the field in force and are urgently making repairs to the final few sites on our network that remain out of service from the severe weather that moved through Texas this week.  The vast majority of customers near all remaining impacted sites should be able to access the network due to overlapping coverage (service from nearby cell sites), although in Austin and San Antonio, where the weather event lasted into mid-day yesterday, they may continue to see some impact to wireless performance such as slower data sessions. Those issues will resolve as our engineers and vendors are able to reach and repair the few remaining sites impacted by the severe weather.

Refueling operations will continue into the evening to keep permanent generators running in the midst of continued commercial power outages.

The situation remains fluid with ice and snow still present in parts of the state, continued power outages, and flooding from melting ice and water main breaks. Safety remains a top priority for our teams that are out working to repair and maintain the network for customers and first responders.

As part of our commitment to excellence and reliability, once all cell sites are back to normal operations, our teams will engage in comprehensive and thorough site inspections of all of our facilities to complete final repairs and maintenance and ensure our Network is prepared to keep customers and first responders connected during potential future weather events.

February 18 Update


What you need to know:

  • We’ve extended our talk/text/data offer to customers in hardest hit parts of Mississippi

  • Verizon’s network continues to support customers and first responders in the midst of widespread severe weather and power outages

Talk/Text/Data offer

We’ve expanded our talk/text/data offer to include customers in the following counties Mississippi:

  • Attala

  • Claiborne

  • Jefferson

  • Kemper

  • Neshoba

  • Winston

  • Yazoo

See our February 16 update below for details.

Customers do not need to do anything to take advantage of this relief and can verify their community is included by entering their zip code at: https://www.verizon.com/featured/relief/ 

The unlimited calling, texting and data will run through February 20.

Health of the Network

Several days into the devastating weather across the country, the Verizon network continues to keep first responders and customers connected to each other and critical needs.

Texas, hit especially hard with snow and ice leading to massive loss of commercial power and growing flooding, remains our greatest area of concentration. We continue to see some service interruptions on scattered cell sites throughout the state, with the majority of Verizon customers experiencing minimal service interruptions due to overlapping coverage (service from nearby cell sites.)

With additional bands of severe weather still hindering efforts in parts of Austin and San Antonio, our engineers and vendors are unable to move about safely. However, in areas of DFW and Houston where the storm has moved out and we are starting to see roads cleared, engineers and vendors are working on refueling permanent generators and deploying mobile generators until commercial power is restored.

Our engineers in the virtual command center are in close communication with city and state officials and first responders to prioritize our response efforts.

February 17 Update


What you need to know:

  • We’ve added Nottoway County, VA to the talk/text/data offer extended to customers in 15 counties in four states yesterday

  • Verizon’s network continues to support customers and first responders in the midst of widespread severe weather and power outages.

Talk/Text/Data offer

As extreme winter weather continues to wreak havoc on much of the country, we’ve expanded our talk/text/data offer to include Nottoway County, VA. See our February 16 update below for details.

Customers do not need to do anything to take advantage of this relief and can verify their community is included by entering their zip code at: https://www.verizon.com/featured/relief/ 

The unlimited calling, texting and data will run through February 20.

Health of the Network

The severe weather event continues throughout Texas layering ice and snow on an already frozen state. As the severe weather moves through we are emphasizing the importance of safety for our teams. When roads are again passable, our crews will resume their efforts to refuel our widespread permanent generators as well as deploy temporary portable generators to sustain operations in the midst of widespread commercial power outages.

We continue to see some service interruptions on scattered cell sites throughout the state, with the majority of Verizon customers experiencing minimal service interruptions due to overlapping coverage (service from nearby cell sites.)

Our engineers in the virtual command center are in close communication with city and state officials and first responders to prioritize our response efforts as soon as it is safe to get our engineers and technicians back out on the streets.

Verizon Response Team

Our Verizon Response Team (VRT) is currently supporting public safety agencies in Louisiana, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Washington. VRT is also providing cell phone chargers to keep residents connected at warming centers across the state of Texas. To learn more about the VRT, please see our 2/16 update below.

February 16 Update


What you need to know:

  • Verizon consumer (prepaid and postpaid) and small business customers1 most impacted by this week’s severe weather will receive unlimited calling, texting and data 2/16 through 2/20

  • Verizon network supports customers and first responders in the midst of widespread severe weather and power outages.

Talk/Text/Data offer

For our consumer and small business customers1 most impacted by this week’s severe winter weather beginning February 16 through February 20 Verizon is providing unlimited calling, texting and data to those who reside in the following counties:

  • North Carolina: Brunswick
  • Kentucky: Carter, Elliott, Lawrence
  • Texas: Austin, Brazoria, Calhoun, Galveston, Kinney, Llano, Mason, Throckmorton, Waller, Wharton
  • West Virginia: Wayne

Our Verizon Response team is available 24/7 to coordinate with first responders. We are mobilizing charging stations, devices, special equipment, emergency vehicles and more to support local, state and federal agencies across the US. More public safety professionals rely on Verizon than any other network. During times of crisis, we provide network priority and preemption for first responders at no cost to public safety agencies. This gives first responders access to the network when they need it. Additionally, when disaster strikes, the Verizon Response Team (VRT) is available 24/7 365 days a year to coordinate with first responders to provide essential technologies during a crisis.

Verizon retail stores may be closed or have reduced hours due to the storm. You can find the nearest one that’s open by visiting: https://www.verizon.com/stores/.

“Our hearts go out to everyone who’s been impacted by this week’s historic winter storms...We know that connectivity is critical during times like this and we hope this relief gives folks a little peace of mind so they can focus on what’s most important.”

Sean Lee, Verizon Senior Vice President of Consumer Sales

Health of the Network

With severe weather impacting customers coast to coast, Verizon’s network is continuing to perform well. Backup generators and redundant fiber rings for cell sites and switching centers are serving their intended purpose and keeping the vast majority of the network running and customers and first responders connected.

Widespread commercial power outages throughout parts of Texas are causing service interruptions for some scattered cell sites throughout the state, primarily focused in the Houston and Dallas Fort Worth areas. However the majority of Verizon customers should expect minimal service interruptions due to overlapping coverage (service from nearby cell sites).

For sites that are impacted by the loss of commercial power, as it is safe to move around, Verizon engineers and vendor partners are actively working to repair impacted generators or deploy portable generators until commercial power is restored.

In North Carolina and Florida where tornadoes have impacted communities, the Verizon network remains in operation and available to the community and first responders in recovery efforts.  Additionally, Verizon is deploying mobile satellite-based cell sites to support first responders in those efforts.

Our Network teams and vendor partners are staffing our 24x7 virtual wireless command centers (in accordance with recommended social distancing policies) and our employees are using additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as they engage in recovery efforts. We are in contact with federal, state and local emergency management teams and are coordinating communication needs and efforts with them.

1 Includes small businesses with 50 lines or less


**Editor’s Note: We have b-roll, pictures and additional information on our emergency response equipment available at our Media Resource Center - https://www.verizon.com/about/news/media-resources

February 15 Update

 


Verizon’s network is ready for this week’s winter storms— and you can be too

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - While intense winter weather is typical for the Midwest and Northeast, severe winter weather is impacting millions of people from coast to coast. In addition to snow and freezing conditions in the Pacific Northwest, the South and Mid-Atlantic are bracing for the unexpected and perhaps historic Winter Storms Tabitha, Uri and Viola, bearing down with threats of unprecedented snow, wind and ice. As always, Verizon’s reliable and dependable network is prepared to take it on — and you can be too.

Predicted to deliver heavy snowfall, freezing rain and/or damaging winds, these storms may affect your ability to get out and about, cause property damage, and in some cases power outages. But whether you get one inch of snow or two feet, or experience 5- to 50-mph gale force winds, the Verizon network will be ready.

State of the network

Verizon’s network is performing well as the parade of winter storms make their way across the country with limited impact to our network operations. As anticipated, commercial power is out in many places throughout the country. In the vast majority of locations, we have backup generators running and are on standby to refuel generators to ensure our network continues to serve our customers. In a few pockets of the country, power outages have impacted the fiber we use to provide connectivity from each cell site to our switching facilities. Restoration crews have already begun work to restore power to those fiber assets.

Our Network teams and vendor partners are staffing our 24x7 virtual wireless command centers (in accordance with recommended social distancing policies) and our employees are using additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as they engage in recovery efforts. Our temporary assets such as mobile cell sites, mobile generators and alternate backhaul connections (needed when fiber is impacted) are prepared and ready to be deployed if needed. We are in contact with federal, state and local emergency management teams and are coordinating communication needs and efforts with them.

Tips for staying safe and connected during winter storms

Severe winter weather conditions are impacting parts of the country that rarely, if ever, deal with winter storms and extreme cold. If this is new to you, we’ve got your back with these tips to keep you connected when it matters most. 

  • Store phones, tablets, batteries, chargers and other equipment in a dry, accessible location. Simple zip-lock storage bags will shield devices, and there are many weatherproof phones, cases and other protective accessories available on Verizon.com.

  • Keep phone and tablet batteries fully charged starting today in case local power is lost.

  • Review the American Red Cross’ Winter Storm and Power Outage microsites for tips on how to stay safe during a blizzard.

  • Have additional charged batteries and car-charger adapters available for backup power.

  • Maintain a list of emergency numbers (police and fire departments; power and insurance companies; family, friends and co-workers; etc.) and program them into your wireless devices before an emergency arises.

  • Use your tablet to photograph and catalogue your valuables and other household belongings for possible insurance claims.

  • Choose from hundreds of free weather-, news- and safety-related apps and services for smartphones and tablets, the American Red Cross Emergency app, AccuWeater, Weather Underground, and NOAA Now and other mobile resources from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

  • Keep hand sanitizer and masks available should you need to leave your home, and review the CDC guidelines on how to protect yourself and others during the pandemic.

  • In the event of an evacuation, bookmark your local emergency resources on your phone so you can research any special restrictions, limitations or instructions if you need emergency shelter, medical care or other support that may be impacted by COVID-19.

Our Verizon Response Team (VRT) stands ready 24/7/365 to serve our consumer and business customers. You can reach Verizon several ways if your services are affected by the storm.

Please note that Verizon retail stores may be closed or have reduced hours due to the storm. You can always find the most up to date hours and locations at: https://www.verizon.com/stores. In addition, we remain ready to serve you for anything you need on Verizon.com and on the My Verizon app. Our knowledgeable sales team is also available to assist via phone at 1-800-256-4646.

Small business customers can sign in to their My Business account or visit www.verizon.com/support/smallbusiness. Medium business and enterprise customers should contact their regular customer service centers or account teams, as needed. Enterprise customers can also access the Enterprise Center. The My Fios app can be used for additional support through cell phones and the Fios Mobile app can be used to watch TV programs including newscasts.

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