Verizon is tracking the shifting path of Hurricane Joaquin, and continues to prepare to deliver strong and reliable coverage to help its customers – wireless and landline– weather the storm and stay connected should it impact the U.S. East Coast.
Verizon began preparations for Joaquin early this week and continues to work on staging and testing emergency response equipment, ensuring extra staffing, scheduling fuel deliveries, network reinforcement efforts and other logistics to buttress service and respond in case of emergencies. These efforts are underpinned by the company’s long-term investment in its networks – now totaling hundreds of billions of dollars in the past 15 years alone – both in big cities and less-populated areas.
“We didn’t just begin thinking about network reliability when this storm popped up, or even this year,” said Nicola Palmer, senior vice president and chief network officer of Verizon Wireless. “Our networks are designed from the ground up with reliability in mind – for individuals, businesses, emergency responders and everyone who needs to stay connected," she added.
Verizon network readiness efforts include:
- A host of network “super-switch” processing centers designed to withstand Category 5 hurricanes. These facilities – which handle tens of millions of wireless calls and connections even on a crisis-free day – feature hardened shells, large-scale on-site power generation and other back-up systems to ensure the company’s network remains strong, running and reliable. The super-switches also serve as Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) for Verizon personnel, as well as local first-responders.
- Fleets of mobile communication units such as Cells On Wheels (COWs), Cells On Light Trucks (COLTs), Cellular Repeaters On Wheels (CROWs) and Generators On A Trailer (GOATs) that can be quickly deployed to hard-hit areas needing extra communication capacity.
- Back-up generators permanently built directly into switching facilities, most cell sites and located at network facilities to maintain coverage even in the event of a prolonged power outages.
- Pre-arranged fuel deliveries in case of a storm, with tankers poised and in position to quickly respond to a hard-hit area.
- A dedicated Verizon Crisis Response Team (VCRT) program that trains and certifies employees nationwide in business continuity and disaster recovery; conducts regular mock emergencies; and works in close conjunction with police, fire and other public safety agencies to prepare and respond to storms and other crises.
History has shown that preparation pays off. Verizon has a long history of helping the communities it serves both during and after severe weather and natural disasters. Since 2001, Verizon employees have responded to more than 30 emergency situations through the company’s Disaster Relief Incentive Program including Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake, and tornadoes in Missouri and Alabama.