Verizon Wireless Readies Network, Emergency Services As Hurricane Gustav Approaches Gulf Coast

HOUSTON, TX — Verizon Wireless has mobilized its emergency response plan as Hurricane Gustav threatens the Gulf Coast today.

To protect its wireless network and preserve communications for wireless customers and emergency agencies, Verizon Wireless has set up designated emergency command centers across the Gulf Coast and deployed hundreds of technicians to prepare the network. In addition, the company's network response teams are now on alert to immediately serve in any hard-hit areas.

Additional highlights of the company's emergency response plan include:

  • Assigning a representative to the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to work directly with the EOC staff and make available hundreds of loaner phones to state and local emergency response agencies.
  • Pre-arranging fuel delivery to mobile units and generators to keep the network operating at full strength even if power is lost for an extended period of time.
  • Pre-positioning a fleet of Cells on Wheels (COWS), Cells on Light Trucks (COLTS) and generators on trailers (GOaTS) to be rolled into hard-hit locations or areas that need extra network capacity immediately after the storm.
  • A new 35-foot $150,000 Disaster Response Trailer is ready to be used as a temporary customer service location in areas impacted by a disaster.

"Hurricane preparedness is an important component contributing to our network reliability," said Kay Henze, Houston/Gulf Coast region president for Verizon Wireless. "Verizon Wireless has the nation's most reliable wireless network and we prepare year-round for severe weather. Advance preparation enables us to implement a comprehensive plan to make sure the network stays strong and calls go through when and where they're needed most."

Since the beginning of the year, Verizon Wireless has spent more than $137 million in the Gulf Coast region to strengthen and enhance its wireless network. These kinds of intensive investments and preparations proved critical during the height of extraordinary storm seasons in the late summer and early autumn of 2004 and 2005. In those years, the Verizon Wireless network along the Gulf Coast remained strong, while many other wireless communication networks struggled to serve residents and emergency response officials.

(Editor's Note: To obtain broadcast-quality video B-roll and still images of network operations/emergency preparations, visit the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia or contact Gretchen LeJeune at 713.204.2100).

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 68.7 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 70,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, go to: www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.

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