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Press Release -- October 29th, 2020
Source: Verizon
Tags:

Verizon Response: Hurricane Zeta

Media contact(s)
Ilya Hemlin
908.295.7677
ilya.hemlin@verizon.com
Kate Jay
678.339.4828
kate.jay@verizon.com

October 29 Update


**Editor’s Note: 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:

  • As Tropical Storm Zeta continues its push across the East, Verizon’s network is holding up well. In areas where we’re seeing the most damage in many cases, overlapping network coverage from adjacent cell sites is minimizing the impact to customers.
  • Due to widespread power outages and wind damage, customers in the coastal areas near New Orleans, Gulfport, MS, Interstate 10 between Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and Metairie Parish, parts of Atlanta, and rural areas of Mississippi and Alabama may experience a temporary degradation of service.
  • Verizon consumer (prepaid and postpaid) and small business customers in Louisiana and Mississippi most affected byTropical Storm Zeta will receive unlimited calling, texting and data starting Wednesday, 10/28 through 11/1.
  • Verizon customers can help the American Red Cross in their disaster relief efforts by texting the word ZETA to 90999 and $10 will be added to their Verizon Wireless bill upon confirmation of the billing zip code.

Network status

As Tropical Storm Zeta continues to move inland, it is leaving widespread commercial power outages along the Gulf Coast and throughout the Southeast. Although we are seeing a handful of sites out of service, in most areas customer impact is minimal thanks to overlapping network coverage from adjacent cell sites.

Customers in the coastal areas in New Orleans, Gulfport, MS, Interstate 10 between Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and Metairie Parish, parts of Atlanta, and rural areas of Mississippi and Alabama may experience a temporary degradation of service.

While there are widespread commercial power outages in the wake of the storm, backup generators and batteries are keeping cell sites and switch locations in service throughout the area.

Verizon crews are already mobilizing and will begin site assessments and repairs, moving mobile assets into place as needed, and undertaking a massive refueling operation to keep sites running until commercial power is restored.

With limited areas of flooding in Mississippi and Louisiana, land access is largely unhindered for most sites in that region. For areas that have experienced flooding or are inaccessible, such as parts of Georgia and the Carolinas as well as Grand Isle, Louisiana, the Verizon Response team is equipped with boats and drones to compensate for land-based accessibility issues.

As the storm continues to track northeast, moving over the Carolinas as well as the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions, we will monitor for impacts resulting from heavy rains, wind, and snow.

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

For our consumer and small business customers impacted by Zeta, beginning Wednesday, October 28 through Sunday, November 1, Verizon is providing unlimited calling, texting and data to those who reside in the following parishes and counties:

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

Mississippi: Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River

Text-to-donate

Verizon customers can help the American Red Cross in their disaster relief efforts by texting the word ZETA 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/.

October 27 Update


What you need to know:

  • Verizon consumer (prepaid and postpaid) and small business customers in Louisiana and Mississippi in the path of Tropical Storm Zeta will receive unlimited calling, texting and data starting 10/28 through 11/1
  • As Zeta heads towards the Gulf Coast, our emergency response teams are busy making sure residents, visitors and first responders can stay connected before, during and after the storm
  • If you live in an area that will be affected by Zeta, now is the time to make sure you know your weather plan and are making sure you and your family are prepared

Verizon offers customers relief in advance of Tropical Storm Zeta

NEW ORLEANS, L.A. - For our consumer and small business customers in the path of Zeta, beginning Wednesday, October 28 through Sunday, November 1, Verizon is providing unlimited calling, texting and data to those who reside in the following parishes and counties:

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

Mississippi: Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River

We’re ready to keep our network running

In preparation for Zeta, the Verizon network team has been busily readying the network to provide reliable, dependable communications before, during and after the storm. When storms like Zeta hit, power outages are commonplace. Verizon has backup power in the form of batteries and generators at our cell sites and network facilities so that even if commercial power is lost, our network can continue to run. These batteries and generators have come in handy many times already this year with the other storms that have hit. We have also pre-arranged for ongoing fuel deliveries to the generators so if commercial power is out for a long period, we are able to keep customers and first responders connected to the people and resources they need.

Extreme weather events can also damage fiber optic cables, which carry data and are an essential part of keeping our wireless network running. Despite having duplicate fiber paths for redundancy, fiber can be damaged in multiple places due to sustained winds, a storm surge or even manual cuts during storm recovery work, impacting communications. To respond to that circumstance, we have a fleet of satellite enabled portable equipment that can serve as a temporary alternative to fiber and can aid in the restoration of service in critical areas.

Having recently responded to impacts from Hurricanes Laura, Sally and Delta, the network team has quickly performed maintenance on Verizon’s fleet of mobile assets - such as mobile cell sites and satellite links - and deployed those assets just outside of the predicted storm impact zone for quick mobility after the storm rolls through. With attention to health concerns during the ongoing pandemic, the network Emergency Operation Center has been activated with many functions virtualized to make it easier for our engineers working on network repairs and deploying mobile assets to remain socially distanced. We have also arranged for individual portable housing units for mission critical network engineers in the field.

We’re ready to support our first responders and community

Verizon is the No. 1 network for public safety. During Zeta and at all times of crisis, we provide network priority and preemption for first responders at no cost to public safety agencies. As always, first responders have access to the Verizon network when they need it. Additionally, the Verizon Response Team (VRT) will be available onsite 24/7 as the storm makes landfall and in its aftermath to coordinate with first responders and to provide essential technologies as long as they’re needed. VRT assets including devices, special equipment, emergency vehicles and more to support local, state and federal agencies responding to the storm.

Not only do we work to ensure our network is ready for the storm, but we make plans to be there for our neighbors who may be impacted. We have mobile Wireless Emergency Communications Centers, Tactical Command Trailers, and Response Trailers ready to deploy to support first responders and community members during recovery efforts. We also have portable cell sites and equipment to support first responders’ emergency command centers.

Due to the storm, Verizon retail stores may be closed or have reduced hours. You can find the latest hours and locations by visiting: https://www.verizon.com/stores/.

Have a plan for your family

Before landfall, we encourage you to take these steps to ensure your loved ones are ready to communicate during the storm:

Device preparation:

  • Ensure all battery-powered devices are fully charged before the storm hits. This includes wireless phones and smartphones, laptops, tablets, flashlights and radios
  • Wireless devices can be a key source of information and communication in the event of an emergency, so be sure to keep phones, tablets, laptops, batteries, chargers and other equipment in dry, accessible locations like re-sealable plastic bags, dry bags or waterproof cases
  • In case of evacuation, make sure you know where your chargers are, both wall and vehicle charging cords, and have portable device chargers fully charged and next to your device

Know and back up your info:

  • Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers and email addresses, including police, fire and rescue agencies; power companies; insurance providers; and family, friends and co-workers. Program them into your phone, smartphone, tablet or laptop and also have a hard copy handy, someplace easily accessible
  • Backup your information on Verizon Cloud - Verizon offers backup assistance through the Verizon Cloud to store your phone’s address book and contact information as well as pictures and other content on a secure server
  • Record video/take photos of your possessions in your residence before severe weather hits

Bookmark resources:

  • Download weather applications and alerts that provide users with a variety of information such as radar images, forecasts and severe storm warnings
  • Program your smartphone to receive emergency alerts. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are free wireless notifications that are delivered to your mobile device by local/national public safety organizations
  • Also in case of evacuation, bookmark your emergency resources on your phone so you can research any special restrictions, limitations or instructions if you need emergency shelter, medical care or other support that may be impacted by COVID-19.

How businesses and government organizations can prepare and stay connected

Businesses and governments know the importance of preparedness. As Zeta Approaches, contingency planning is critical. We offer customers products and services that can help disaster-proof communications and enable business continuity.

It’s also a good time to review readiness plans. Suggested steps for businesses and government organizations include:

  • Make sure you have contact information updated and readily available for all employees
  • Make copies of insurance documents, review insurance coverages and update as appropriate
  • Ensure employees working from home have documented all corporate equipment being used to work from home in case of damage or loss

Ensure you have a backup plan to shift work in case work-from-home employees in a storm-impacted area have to evacuate their home or their home loses commercial power


**Editor’s Note: 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

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