Hurricane Irene Impact: Verizon offers tips to customers


Verizon’s wireless and wireline operations teams from
Florida to Maine are completing many tasks necessary to prepare for Hurricane
Irene, which continues to push toward the East Coast.


Verizon’s Business Continuity and Emergency Management
team has activated its National Emergency Coordination Center, which enables
Verizon executives to quickly deploy recovery efforts on their networks during
emergency situations.  


Verizon’s wireless and wireline networks include towers,
buildings, transmission facilities and vehicles, and the company is preparing
for possible flooding, power outages and downed trees and wires from Irene’s


Verizon teams are reviewing the inventory of supplies
like utility poles, cable and other equipment and are staffing essential
positions to meet recovery needs.


The Verizon communications networks require power to
function properly.  If commercial power goes out, backup batteries and
generators in Verizon’s central switching offices, mobile units and field
facilities keep power flowing so customers’ phones ring even when the lights go


The company is pre-arranging fuel delivery for these
critical facilities to ensure they continue to function during possible
extended power outages.


In addition, trucks and other portable equipment are
being moved from low-lying areas, where possible.  Building sump pumps are
also being tested, and drains and gutters cleared.


Since last year’s storm season, Verizon Wireless has
launched the nation’s fastest, most advanced 4G LTE network in numerous markets
along the East Coast and to 160 million Americans, more than half of the U.S.
population; added capacity to high-speed 3G cell sites throughout the country;
and installed new in-building network systems at hospitals, government and
emergency facilities, high-traffic public venues and other key locations.


Each year, Verizon Wireless invests on average more than
$6 billion in its network, and its ongoing network investment totals more than
$65 billion nationally since it was formed in 2000.


“Wireless communication is critical before, during
and after hurricanes and other weather-related emergencies. We work hard every
day to enhance and maintain the nation’s largest, most reliable wireless
network and to deliver consistently superior service to our customers when and
where they need it most.  Preparation is key to staying safe.  We
have years of experience of planning for and maintaining service during severe
weather and are very proud of how our employees and network have performed in
meeting these challenges,” said Nancy Clark, Northeast president for Verizon Wireles.


Verizon invested $16.2 billion in its wireline networks
across the country over the past two years. Verizon enterprise and government
customers are encouraged to review their own business continuity plans to
prepare for any possible impact as the result of Hurricane Irene.


In addition, Verizon’s disaster recovery fleet of
emergency vehicles is standing ready to deploy to the affected region, if
needed.  The fleet includes a 51-foot mobile command center; a 40-foot
mobile command center; two 53-foot mobile emergency calling centers; and
numerous satellite trailers.


Verizon also has the industry’s first environmental
hazmat response team, the Major Emergency Response Incident Team (MERIT), which
will remain on standby to deploy immediately, if needed.  


This team is specially trained for rapid deployment to
manage hazardous materials emergencies involving or threatening Verizon’s
critical communications facilities or infrastructure, or other company assets.


“At Verizon, we know how critical communications are
during and after severe storms, and customers can count on our network to
weather the storm.  We’ve learned over the past 100-plus years what we
need to do to minimize the impact of Mother Nature on our network so that
service is maintained and we can respond quickly and effectively when problems
do develop,” Chris Creager, senior vice president of national operations
for consumer and mass markets, Verizon Telecom.


Wireless customers should be preparing an emergency
communication plan to keep their families safe and in touch and follow these
tips for storm season: Keep phones, batteries, chargers and other equipment in
a dry, accessible location.  Consider waterproof accessories or simple
zip-lock storage bags to protect devices.


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 backup power.


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


Distribute wireless phone numbers to family members and
friends. Download applications from a wide variety of weather- and
safety-related apps for smartphones, tablets and other devices.  Many of
these apps are free.


Use a service such as Backup Assistant, the free Verizon
Wireless application that stores a phone’s address book on a secure server in
case the phone is lost or damaged.


Verizon Wireless also recommends the following actions
once a storm is on the way: Limit non-emergency calls to conserve battery power
and free-up wireless networks for emergency agencies and operations.


Send brief text messages rather than voice calls for the
same reasons as above. Forward your home phone calls to your wireless number if
you evacuate. Check weather and news reports on wireless phone applications
when power is out.


Verizon recommends that wireline customers should
consider the following tips: Customers who rely solely on cordless phones in their
home should consider purchasing an inexpensive hard-wired phone that plugs
directly into a wall jack.  Cordless phones will not function without
commercial power.


While home answering machines do not work without power,
Verizon voice mail service powered by the network will help families


Verizon recently announced
that it is adding Mobile Satellite Solutions to its Private IP service
suite, combining a highly reliable connection with portable satellite
technology to provide services where traditional terrestrial services are
unavailable, unreliable or expensive.


By leveraging Verizon’s multiprotocol label switching
(MPLS) global private IP network, these satellite services provide Private IP
customers with access to their private networks from virtually any place within
the satellite coverage area.


By Team
[email protected]