With Hurricane Ivan Setting Its Sights On Southern Georgia, Verizon Wireless Prepares Network, Offers Emergency Tips

ATLANTA, GA — With Hurricane Ivan projected to hit the panhandle of Florida and then move into southern Georgia, residents and businesses are busy preparing for bad weather, including making emergency communication plans. Verizon Wireless also is preparing its network, and offers residents these easy tips to be safer during severe storms and other times of crisis:

  • Keep wireless phone batteries charged — in case local power is lost — well before warnings are issued.

  • Have additional fully charged batteries and car-charger adapters available for back-up power.

  • Keep phones, batteries, chargers and other equipment in a dry, accessible location.

  • Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers — police, fire, and rescue agencies; power companies; insurance providers; family, friends and co-workers; etc. — and program them into your phone.

  • Distribute wireless phone numbers to family members and friends.

  • When dialing 9-1-1, remember to hit the "Send" key and state your location.

  • Use TXT Messaging as an alternative way of getting quick messages to individuals or groups.

"Wireless communication can be a lifesaver, especially here in Georgia during a severe storm," said Georgia/Alabama Region President Jim McGean. "So, we hope to help our customers to plan for emergencies, and we invest vast resources to make sure our network is performing well when it's needed most."

Throughout the year, Verizon Wireless goes through comprehensive disaster recovery plans to test emergency generators and back-up batteries to keep the network online in the event of a power outage.

In Georgia, individual transmission sites operated by Verizon Wireless with their own on-site backup generators will be able to operate for 6-8 hours on battery alone. More than 125 additional back-up generators have been pre-staged in the southern half of the state to be immediately deployed once the critical path of the storm is identified. This capability could be critical if roads are impassable in the wake of a storm.

The company also has a mobile fleet of Cells on Wheels (COWS), which are self-powered transmitters that can be rolled into hard hit locations or areas that need extra network capacity. The fleet of portable generators have been fueled and are on stand-by and fuel companies have been scheduled to assist in keeping the generators running. In addition, loaner wireless phones and extra batteries have been readied for distribution and use by local emergency personnel.

For more emergency communication information if a storm is approaching, or for general wireless safety tips, visit www.verizonwireless.com.

Editor's Note: To view a photo of a COW, or one of the company's Network Operations Centers, please visit http://www.verizonwireless.com/news and click on "image gallery."

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and over 40.4 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To receive broadcast-quality video footage of Verizon Wireless operations, log onto www.thenewsmarket.com/verizonwireless.  

About the Verizon Wireless Test Man Ride-Along ProgramThe specially equipped Verizon Wireless test vehicles simultaneously test seven wireless providers, using a computerized program to generate phonically diverse "conversations" as well as data transmissions. If you are interested in setting up an interview or ride-along with a local member of the Verizon Wireless team of real-life test men and women, contact Caran Smith at 678-339-4891 or via email at caran.smith@verizonwireless.com.