Wireless Phones And Emergency Network Expansion Aid Firefighters In Kern County, California

What/When: Verizon Wireless engaged its Crisis Response Team (VCRT) to respond to requests from U.S. Forestry Service, CAL FIRE, and Kern County Fire Department for additional cell phones and to boost wireless coverage for emergency personnel battling the “Bull” and “West” wildfires in Kern County, California.

Expanding coverage and capacity in existing area cell sites enables emergency response teams and other Verizon Wireless customers to exchange more calls and data transmissions.

80 emergency wireless phones, 40 Mobile Broadband devices, and six MiFi personal mobile hotspot devices were dispatched to fire base camps in Kern County on Wednesday, July 28, 2010. A COLT (cell on light truck) was deployed to the Bull Fire base camp at Kern Valley High School in Lake Isabella on Thursday, July 29, 2010.

Verizon Wireless set up a free Wireless Emergency Communications Center (WECC) at the base camp located at Tehachapi High School. Firefighters battling the West Fire utilized the WECC to make free phone calls, re-charge their personal cell phones (regardless of carrier), and access the Internet using the company’s Mobile Broadband service.

Where:Fire command centers at Kern Valley High School in Lake Isabella and Tehachapi High School in Tehachapi, California.

Why:Verizon Wireless deploys mobile cell sites -- or boosts the call-handling capacity of existing sites -- to enhance its network when there is a natural disaster or other peak calling event. In the past year, the company has deployed mobile cell sites and other equipment to wildfire incidents around the country. Additionally, the company has provided hundreds of wireless phones with service to aid emergency responders, relief workers and others.

Network Investment:Verizon Wireless’ ongoing network investment in California now totals nearly $5.7 billion. Nationally, the company has invested more than $60 billion 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. The result is the nation’s largest, most reliable 3G network that powers services such as Mobile Broadband and Email.

Reliability: Aided by its fleet of mobile equipment, Verizon Wireless’ reputation as the nation’s most reliable network is supported by industry-leading redundancy and maintenance measures. This has proven particularly valuable during natural disasters and other emergencies across the country.

Standard Verizon Wireless network-reliability features include battery back-up power at all facilities as well as generators installed at all switching facilities and most cell site locations.

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and 3G data network, serving more than 92 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 79,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. 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 www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.