Severe Storm Season On The Horizon In Alabama; Residents Urged To Consider Emergency Communications Plans

BIRMINGHAM, AL — In 2009, Alabama received five presidential disaster declarations from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for severe weather events across the state. Overall, Alabama ranks 7th in the nation for presidential disaster declarations.

With this in mind, Verizon Wireless, which operates the nation’s most reliable and largest voice and 3G data network, offers a well-prepared wireless network for the 2010 Hurricane/Severe Weather Season which begins June 1.

Network Reliability is Key Verizon Wireless is continually reinforcing its network infrastructure to ensure reliability for customers in even the most severe circumstances. In the first quarter of 2010, the company invested more than $27 million to expand and enhance its network across Alabama. Currently, 95 percent of the state’s population is covered by Verizon Wireless’ 3G network. In addition, 100 percent of the Verizon Wireless cell sites are equipped with battery back up power in case of a power outage. The company also has the ability to increase network traffic capacity along all pre-identified evacuation routes from the coastal area to help handle the increased calling and data usage during an emergency. Verizon Wireless’ continued investments ensure that Alabama customers have the service they need everywhere in the state, especially during times of emergency.

“As the nation’s largest wireless carrier, we take our role in public safety very seriously,” said Jeff Mango, president – Alabama/Georgia Region for Verizon Wireless. “During emergencies, wireless communication plays a vital role for emergency personnel, first responders and just letting family and friends know you’re okay. Living in Alabama, we’re right in the middle of the most severe weather zone in the country which makes the coverage and reliability of our network paramount during an emergency.”

Verizon Wireless has continued the extensive investments and preparations that prove critical during and after heavy storms. In the aftermath of even the most devastating hurricanes of recent years, the Verizon Wireless network has remained strong while many other wireless communication networks struggled to serve emergency response officials and residents.

Additional highlights of the Verizon Wireless severe weather preparation include:

  • The company’s expanded its EV-DO wireless broadband network now covers 95 percent of Alabama residents and allows the most advanced wireless services (downloads, location-based applications, video messaging, etc.) for usage by residents and emergency agencies.
  • Verizon Wireless is fully prepared to set up Wireless Emergency Communication Centers (WECCs) to serve residents and rescue agencies in the area(s) in the greatest need. The company also has a fleet of Cells on Wheels (COWs) and Cells on Light Trucks (COLTs), and generators on trailers (GOaTs) that can be rolled into hard-hit locations.
  • The company has developed and practiced a comprehensive emergency response plan, including preparing emergency command centers in the case of a storm or crisis.
  • Verizon Wireless has a Communications Store on wheels ready to roll. The 35-foot trailer will allow Verizon Wireless to maintain retail operations in areas when company stores are not able to open or when retail services are needed in areas where natural disaster strikes, enabling customers to purchase the wireless phones and accessories they need.

In preparation for this year’s major storm season, Verizon Wireless offers Alabamians these tips to be safer during severe weather and other emergencies:

  • Keep wireless phone batteries fully charged – in case local power is lost – well before warnings are issued.
  • Have additional 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.
  • Forward your home phone calls to your wireless number if you will be away from your home or have to evacuate.
  • Limit non-emergency calls to conserve battery power and free-up wireless networks for emergency agencies and operations.
  • Send brief TXT messages rather than voice calls for the same reasons as above.
  • Check weather and news reports available on wireless phone applications when commercial power is out.

Verizon Wireless has invested more than $59 billion nationally since it was formed – $5.7 billion on average every year – to increase the coverage and capacity of its premier nationwide network and to add new services. For more information on the Verizon Wireless network, products and services, visit

(Editor’s Note: To accompany a Verizon Wireless Test Man, tour a network emergency command center, or obtain broadcast-quality video B-roll and still images of emergency preparations, contact Caran Smith at 678.339.4891).

About Verizon Wireless Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and 3G data network, serving nearly 93 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 81,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: 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