Verizon Wireless Network Ready To Serve As Santa Barbara County, California, Battles Tea Fire

SANTA BARBARA, CA — As the Tea Fire threatens communities in Santa Barbara County, Verizon Wireless’ network is ready to deliver reliable wireless coverage and service to keep emergency responders and customers connected. The company’s network crews and disaster response team – including many veterans of previous wild fires throughout California – are on alert.

“The devastation caused by wild fires affects our customers, communities and employees,” said Rich Garwood, Verizon Wireless regional president. “We are committed to making a difference now and for the long haul. It’s one of the reasons we added generators at even more cell sites last year.”

Network reliabilityVerizon Wireless has made extensive investments and efforts to prepare its network for emergencies and provide the most reliable ongoing wireless service for residents and businesses. Last year, the company invested more than $650 million throughout California to strengthen and enhance its wireless network. The company invested more than $360 million during the first half of 2008.

Highlights of Verizon Wireless’ 2008 emergency preparation and network enhancements include:

  • The company has a fleet of Cells on Wheels (COWs) and Cells on Light Trucks (COLTs), and Generators on Trailers (GOaTs) that can be deployed to fire command centers or areas that need extra network capacity.
  • The company has made arrangements for 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.
  • The company has expanded its Rev. A EV-DO wireless broadband network throughout the region. This allows the most advanced wireless services (downloads, location-based applications, video messaging, etc.) and makes the network more reliable for usage by residents and emergency agencies.

Verizon Wireless has invested more than $45 billion in the past eight years to enhance its digital wireless network across the nation.

Tips for customers To help wireless customers stay connected during an emergency Verizon Wireless offers the following tips:

  • Save emergency phone numbers in your cell phone with one-touch dialing
  • Forward your home phone calls to your wireless number if you have to evacuate
  • Distribute wireless phone numbers to family members and friends
  • Limit non-emergency calls to conserve battery power and free-up wireless networks for emergency agencies and operations
  • Send brief text messages rather than making voice calls for the same reasons
  • Have additional charged batteries and car-charger adapters available for back-up power • Keep phones, laptops, PDAs, batteries, chargers and other equipment in a dry, accessible location
  • There’s no need to find a WiFi hotspot with BroadbandAccess -- Verizon Wireless’ high-speed wireless broadband service gives users mobile access to email and the Internet at broadband speeds

(Editor’s Note: To accompany a Verizon Wireless Test Man, tour a network facility or obtain broadcast-quality video B-Roll and still images of network operations/emergency preparations, contact Heidi Flato at 925.279.6545).

About Verizon Wireless Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 70.8 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 71,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, visit To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at