Customers With Disabilities

Hurricane Irene Could Pack a Wallop: Bracing for a Monster Storm

by Employee ‎08-25-2011 04:46 PM - edited ‎08-26-2011 08:00 PM

tree_hurrincane.JPGBy all accounts, it could be a very dark and stormy couple of nights for the East Coast as Hurricane Irene roars northward in the Atlantic Ocean.

 

While still a Category 3 storm packing winds near 120 miles per hour, Irene could easily turn into a Category 4 monster with winds topping 131 miles per hour later today, according to meteorologists.  Even if Irene maxes out as a Cat 3, and loosens her bite in the cooler waters off the Northeast coast, the potential for devastation in many major metro areas remains huge.

 

Federal officials warn of potential major flooding and possible power outages.  Needless to say, Irene has our undivided attention and we’re working hard in advance to help make sure you can stay in touch with your loved ones and associates regardless the impact.

 

In preparation, our wireless and wireline operations teams from Florida to Maine are completing numerous tasks to ensure we can quickly and effectively restore service should it be impacted by the storm.

 

Among the things we’re doing are preparing for possible flooding, power outages and downed trees and wires from Irene’s aftermath.  Our teams are reviewing the inventory of supplies like utility poles, cable and other equipment and are staffing essential positions to meet recovery needs.

 

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

 

There are a lot of logistical things, while not glamorous, that are important for us to do as a hurricane approaches.  Among the things we’re doing include 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.

 

We know that wireless and wireline communication is critical before, during and after weather-related emergencies, and preparation is the key.  We’ve learned over the 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.

 

With that in mind, here are tips for you as Irene approaches:


  • 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 communicate.
  • 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.
  • 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.

We’re going to be as ready as possible to serve all the communication needs of our customers in the coming days, and we hope Irene causes the least amount of damage possible.

 

Commercial Power Failures and FiOS Service Interruptions


Here’s an additional reminder for our FiOS customers.  In the event of a commercial power failure, your FiOS battery backup will power your standard voice service for approximately 8 hours. For additional information about the battery backup unit, please click on the following link http://bit.ly/q57oLJ

 

Once commercial power is restored, customers may need to reset their battery backup unit. Instructions for resetting this unit can be found on the following website http://bit.ly/p6JOfk

 

 

Comments
by Gold Contributor VII on ‎08-25-2011 05:44 PM

One thing I would add to the list of things for people to do is to put their cordless phone base station on a UPS, especially if they already have a UPS in the house, maybe for their computer. That way, even if the power goes out, all the cordless phones in the house should work, as long as they are charged and as long as the UPS lasts.

 

Everybody stay safe! I went though a hurricane in Florida in the early 1960s with my parents and it was most definitely no fun.

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