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Using Wireless to Enhance Safety and Save Lives on Lakes

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When preparing to head out onto the local lakes this summer, you might be forgetting on safety tool that could save your life. A wireless phone!

Along with life jackets, flares and two-way radios, Verizon Wireless says that boaters should keep in mind the importance of wireless phones.

Each year thousands of Carolina's wireless phone users take to area lakes and Verizon Wireless' safety awareness campaign, "Water Safety With Wireless," is intended to remind lake-goers that wireless phones are just as important as other safety items. To kick off the campaign, Verizon Wireless has arranged for a special event to take place June 22, at the First Union Plaza uptown, from 11 to 1 p.m. During the event, Verizon Wireless will donate more than 30 pre-programmed 9-1-1 phones to lake lifeguards and local marinas that rent boats to the public. Marinas at Lake Norman and Lake Wylie and lifeguards from the Lake Norman YMCA, who patrol the lakefront daily, will receive the wireless phones. A rental boat from Lake Norman Marina will be on display at the plaza. Representatives from Verizon Wireless and local lifeguards will also be on hand to answer questions about water safety.

"Water Safety With Wireless" also encourages boaters and others enjoying Carolina's lakes to use wireless phones to increase safety for themselves and fellow lake-goers by reporting unsafe boating and other lake emergencies to local law enforcement. Calls made on wireless phones to 9-1-1 are free no matter what your location.

"Sadly, each year on Carolina's lakes there are a number of boating accidents and other life-threatening emergencies," said Jerry Fountain, president of Verizon Wireless' Carolinas region. "There was recent tragic reminder that accidents do happen on lakes as a local man died after he had a heart attack while fishing. Verizon Wireless wants its local communities to know that wireless phones can save lives."

In conjunction with the phone donations, the campaign also features a boat windshield sticker (sample on pg. 1) distributed to lake-goers during boat inspections, lake patrols and other lake-related activities with the help of organizations concerned with water safety, including the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department; sheriffs departments in York, Catawba, Iredell and Lincoln counties; Lake Norman and Lake Wylie Marine Commissions; Lake Norman Power Squadron; and local marinas.

Some tips from Verizon Wireless' "Water Safety With Wireless" campaign:

  • Always carry a wireless phone to report suspected drunken, speeding or erratic boaters on the lake, call for emergency medical attention, and summon help for mechanical problems.

  • Check and charge your battery regularly. Remember that you can use your onboard cigarette lighter adapter to power your phone.

  • When calling 9-1-1, be prepared to describe your location to the operator using buoy markers or other landmarks.

  • Provide the 9-1-1 operator with your wireless phone number in case more information is needed.

  • As with all calls, when dialing 9-1-1 remember to press the SEND button for the call to go through.

About Verizon Wireless: Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 18 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 4 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp (NYSE:BEL) and Vodafone AirTouch Plc (LSE:VOD; NYSE:VOD). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. Verizon Wireless will be further strengthened by the addition of the wireless assets of GTE Corp. (NYSE:GTE) when it completes its merger with Bell Atlantic. When the merger is complete, the new company will have a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. Verizon Wireless, headquartered in New York City and Bedminster, NJ, is 30,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company in its Media Center on the Web at: