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May 30, 2012 at 14:03 PM EDT
As 2012 Hurricane Season Begins, Alabama Residents Urged to Prepare Communication Plans

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., May 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With the 2012 Hurricane Season officially set to begin June 1, Alabamians should be preparing an emergency communication plan to keep their families safe and in touch.

Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless carrier, offers 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 back-up 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 from a wide variety of weather- and safety-related applications 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 suggests 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 reason.
  • 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.

"Every year we see severe weather issues in Alabama from hurricanes, violent thunderstorms, wildfires, tornadoes and the like,"says Jonathan LeCompte, president of Verizon Wireless' Georgia/Alabama Region.  "We know that preparation, and the earlier the better, is important in staying safe and keeping the lines of communication with loved ones and emergency responders open."

Verizon Wireless, which operates the nation's fastest 4G network and largest and most reliable 3G network, has made numerous network enhancements over the past year, including the expansion of its most advanced 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) network. Over the course of the year, new cell towers and/or other network capacity enhancements worth more than $120 million were activated in over 320 cities and towns across Alabama, including 22 new cell sites in 18 cities. Residents throughout the Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery metro areas now have access to the company's 4G LTE network for super-fast connectivity. In these areas, customers with 4G LTE devices can now take advantage of the nation's fastest 4G network with speeds up to 10 times faster than Verizon Wireless' 3G network. The company's ongoing network investment in Alabama now totals over $830 million since the company was formed in 2000.

As a result of the company's ongoing investments, in the aftermath of even the most devastating weather, the Verizon Wireless network in Alabama. Verizon Wireless' storm preparation includes:

  • 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.
  • Verizon Wireless pre-arranges fuel delivery to mobile units and generators to keep the network operating at full strength even if power is lost for an extended period of time.
  • Installation of advanced in-building systems to boost wireless coverage and services at hospitals, government and emergency facilities, high-traffic public venues and other locations throughout Alabama.
  • Verizon Wireless has a Communications Store on wheels ready to roll.  The 35-foot trailer allows 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.

For more information on the Verizon Wireless network, products and services, visit www.verizonwireless.com.

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation's largest 4G LTE network and largest, most reliable 3G network. The company serves 93 million retail customers.  Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 80,000 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.  

SOURCE Verizon Wireless

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