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Verizon Wireless Prepared As Tropical Storm Hanna Threatens Georgia


Residents are Urged to Make Emergency Communications Plans.

ATLANTA — With Tropical Storm Hanna threatening the Georgia coast, Verizon Wireless urges residents to have their emergency communications plans in place. The company offers the following tips:

* 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.
* Distribute wireless phone numbers to family members and friends.
* 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 text 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.

Tropical Storm Hanna is expected to reach landfall by Friday of this week. The storm already has begun to churn the ocean waters off the Southeast coast. Over the Labor Day weekend, numerous rescues by lifeguards were carried out along the beaches of South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina all due to the dangerous rip currents.

“It’s clear that Hanna will have some impact on our region, but preparation and communication will help lessen any problems the storm throws at us,” said Jeff Mango, region president for Verizon Wireless Georgia/Alabama. “We prepare our network all year long, spending more than $110 million across these two states in 2008 to date, to be ready for storms and other emergencies. We work hard to ensure Georgians can use their phones when and where they need it.”

The Verizon Wireless network is built for reliability in emergencies, with battery back up power at all facilities and generators installed at all switching facilities and most cell site locations. The company has enhanced its network along the Georgia coast and along all evacuation routes for more than 100 miles inland in order to be able to immediately increase the calling capacity for evacuees in the event a hurricane threatens the Georgia, South Carolina or Florida coastline. Additional Verizon Wireless preparation for events such as Hanna includes:

The company has expanded its EV-DO wireless broadband network, including launching its highest-speed Rev. A network throughout the region. This allows the most advanced wireless services (downloads, location-based applications, video messaging, etc.) and makes the network more robust 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.


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