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Press Release -- September 17th, 2020
Source: Verizon
Tags:

Verizon Response: Hurricane Sally

Media contact(s)
Karen Schulz
864.987.2006
Karen.Schulz@VerizonWireless.com
Kate Jay
678.339.4828
kate.jay@verizon.com

For media: we have b-roll, pictures and additional information on our emergency response equipment available at our Media Resource Center - https://www.verizon.com/about/news/media-resources

What you need to know:

  • A number of cell sites are running on backup generators, due to the widespread commercial power outages. Flooding concerns remain as network resiliency efforts begin.
  • Verizon consumer (prepaid and postpaid) and small business customers in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi in the path of Hurricane Sally will receive unlimited calling, texting and data 9/15 through 9/21
  • Verizon retail stores may be closed or have reduced hours due to the storm
  • Our Verizon Response team is available 24/7 to coordinate with first responders
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September 16 Update 6:00 PM ET


Flooding and widespread commercial power outages continue as the wind remnants of Tropical Storm Sally move further inland. We are seeing two significant fiber cuts in the impacted markets (fiber transports data from our cell sites to network switch and core locations). Coastal Baldwin County and the Northern portions of Escambia, Baldwin, Conecuh and Monroe County are experiencing service interruptions because of those fiber cuts. Fiber crews on the scene have identified the location of the issue and are working to restore connectivity.

In other areas we are seeing a handful of scattered sites out of service, but in most of those areas customers will benefit from Verizon’s overlapping network coverage.

Winds have died down, so with the few remaining hours of sunlight our Network field teams are beginning site assessments to determine repair needs. Due to flooding and commercial power losses, crews will not work overnight tonight, but will continue site assessments and begin restoration efforts in earnest at dawn. Mobile cell sites, satellite assets, portable generators and more are on standby for deployment to help with the restoration efforts.

In accordance with recommended social distancing policies, we have activated our virtual command centers in Louisiana and Texas and our employees are using additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as they engage in recovery efforts.

Additionally, our Verizon Response team is deployed in the impacted areas and working to coordinate with first responders. We are in contact with federal, state and local emergency management teams and are coordinating communication needs and efforts with them. First responder customers with wireless priority service should utilize *272 when placing calls.

September 16 Update


Network status

As Hurricane Sally moves slowly inland, it is leaving commercial power outages and significant flooding throughout the area in its wake. Although we are seeing a handful of sites out of service, in most areas customers will benefit from Verizon’s overlapping network coverage. The Gulf Shores area and the Eastern Shore near Fairhope have multiple sites down, so customers in that area may experience a temporary degradation of service.

There are widespread commercial power outages and our network has backup generators and batteries running to keep our cell sites and switch locations in service throughout the area. As the storm clears and it is safe to do so – possibly even later today - our crews will begin site assessments and repairs, move mobile assets into place as needed, and activate a massive refueling operation to keep sites running until commercial power is restored. With bridges closed in the Pensacola area and flood waters continuing to rise, access to roads and bridges may slow site assessments and mobile network asset movements. The Verizon team is equipped with boats and drones to compensate for land-based accessibility issues.

Our Network teams and vendor partners are staffing our 24x7 virtual wireless command center and are in contact with federal, state and local emergency management teams and are coordinating communication needs and efforts with them.

Verizon offers customers relief in advance of Hurricane Sally:

For our consumer and small business customers in the path of Hurricane Sally, beginning Tuesday, September 15 through September 21, Verizon is providing unlimited calling, texting and data to those who reside in the following parishes and counties:

Alabama: Baldwin, Mobile

Florida: Escambia, Santa Rosa

Louisiana: Ascension, Assumption, Jefferson, La Fourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington

Mississippi: George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, Stone

Our Verizon Response team is available 24/7 to coordinate with first responders. We are mobilizing charging stations, devices, special equipment, emergency vehicles and more to support local, state and federal agencies across the US. First responder customers with wireless priority service should utilize *272 when placing calls.

“Others may call it network recovery, but at Verizon our engineers are laser focused on network resiliency," said Mary Nolan. “That means building redundancy and reliability into multiple layers of the network.”

Text-to-donate:

Verizon customers can help the American Red Cross in their disaster relief efforts by texting the word HURRICANES to 90999 and $10 will be added to their Verizon Wireless bill upon confirmation of the billing zip code.

Stores status:

Verizon retail stores may be closed or have reduced hours due to the storm. You can find the nearest one that’s open by visiting: https://www.verizonwireless.com/stores/.

September 14 Update


NEW ORLEANS, LA - Having restored network performance back to pre-storm levels in the wake of Hurricane Laura, the Verizon Network team is prepared and ready for Hurricane Sally, which is predicted to make landfall as a hurricane on Tuesday. The Verizon Network team is standing up its virtual Emergency Operation Center and making preparations for the storm’s arrival.

On the heels of the largest post-storm satellite asset deployment in our company’s history following Hurricane Laura, those mobile assets – used to provide temporary connection to cell sites if fiber is damaged – are still in the area and ready to be redeployed. Portable generators – used to provide temporary power in case of widespread commercial power outages – are also fueled and staged in the area. Permanent generators at cell sites and switch locations have been fueled up and tested, and vendors ready to keep refueling efforts going throughout the event are on standby.

In crisis situations, communication is critical. We have experienced it most recently with Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Isaias, the Derecho storms in the Midwest and the west coast wildfires that demonstrated the importance of connecting with critical resources, colleagues, friends and family. Reliability is in our DNA and we prepare all year long for disasters. The strength, reliability and strong performance of our network has been very evident to our customers during recent emergencies and our teams are prepared for Hurricane Sally heading towards the Gulf Coast with the same tireless dedication and commitment to reliable communications.

Verizon offers customers relief in advance of Hurricane Sally:

For our consumer and small business customers in the path of Hurricane Sally, beginning Tuesday, September 15 through September 21, Verizon is providing unlimited calling, texting and data to those who reside in the following parishes and counties:

Alabama: Baldwin, Mobile

Florida: Escambia, Santa Rosa

Louisiana: Ascension, Assumption, Jefferson, La Fourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington

Mississippi: George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, Stone

Our Verizon Response team is available 24/7 to coordinate with first responders. We are mobilizing charging stations, devices, special equipment, emergency vehicles and more to support local, state and federal agencies across the US. First responder customers with wireless priority service should utilize *272 when placing calls.

Verizon retail stores may be closed or have reduced hours due to the storm. You can find the nearest one that’s open by visiting: https://www.verizonwireless.com/stores/.

“Gulf Coast residents battered by this year’s record setting hurricane season have enough to worry about as Hurricane Sally approaches. Wondering if they’ll be able to connect before, during and after the storm shouldn’t be one of those worries,” said Michelle Miller, Verizon Consumer Vice President. “Our Network teams are prepared to keep residents connected. We hope this offer will allow our customers to focus on what matters most - making sure they and their homes are prepared.”

Text-to-donate:

Verizon customers can help the American Red Cross in their disaster relief efforts by texting the word HURRICANES to 90999 and $10 will be added to their Verizon Wireless bill upon confirmation of the billing zip code.

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