Wireless Phone Saved Wounded Springfield Detective's Life

WOBURN, MA — By his own account, Detective Carlo Damato would not be alive today were it not for quick thinking, a rapid response to his request for police and medical assistance, and above all, his wireless phone.

According to Damato, a 28-year-veteran of the Springfield, Mass. police department, he was walking home off-duty on the night of December 23, 2000 when a suspect approached him and fired multiple gunshots, one of which hit the detective in the abdomen and inflicted a critical wound.

Lying on the pavement and unable to move, Damato said he dialed 911 from his wireless phone, gave a full description of the suspect and asked for an ambulance as well as police assistance. A week later, he awoke in Baystate Hospital after enduring three trauma surgeries. "It's a real comfort to know that when my life was in danger, I was able to make the call that ultimately saved my life," said Damato. "If I wasn't carrying my cell phone that night, I wouldn't be here to tell my story."

To recognize Damato's courage and fortitude, Verizon Wireless is honoring the detective as part of Wireless Safety Week (May 21-28, 2001) at its West Springfield, Mass. Store, May 22.

"Detective Damato's story exemplifies the positive difference a wireless phone can make in life-threatening situations," said Bob Stott, regional New England president for Verizon Wireless. "In the past, wireless technology was simply viewed as a convenient mode of communication. But it has evolved into one of the main resources in our quest to save lives and promote safety."

According to the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, it is estimated that more than 120,000 wireless 9-1-1 emergency calls are made daily in the United States alone. This translates into one emergency call being made every 1.4 seconds.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 27 million wireless voice and data customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD), including Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless and PrimeCo Personal Communications. Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.