TAMPA, FL – On the heels of Hurricane Ian, Florida is once again bracing for tropical weather, and Verizon is ready to keep the community and first responders in Florida connected. Teams of Verizon engineers, completing recovery work from Hurricane Ian, are already deployed throughout the sunshine state. They have completed maintenance and upgrades on assets that were used extensively throughout the past two months, and have supplemented that fleet of equipment with other mobile assets from other parts of the country. Mobile equipment has been pre-staged, fueling teams are on standby and operations teams have completed pre-incident preparations. Verizon Frontline and the Verizon Frontline Crisis Response Team also stand ready to provide first responders on the front lines of response efforts with the mission-critical communications support they need.
“We are here for Florida,” said Kyle Malady, EVP and President, Global Networks and Technology. “We know the community is still reeling from Hurricane Ian and the threat of more critical weather is not the news anyone wants to hear. But Verizon will be here for Florida through this storm season and through the recovery time to come. We are absolutely committed to providing Floridians the reliability and advanced technology they have come to expect from Verizon before, during and after the storms.”
Verizon’s networks are prepared to keep people connected
Recognized repeatedly for reliability, Verizon’s extreme network is designed to withstand extreme weather and delivers superior service by including redundancy on critical paths and components to avoid a potential failure of a network component significantly affecting customers. The use of battery and generator backup systems in critical locations such as macro cell sites, switch locations and network operations centers also serves to minimize the risk of disruption if commercial power is lost. 100% of Verizon macro cell sites have backup battery power and 78% have backup generators nationally, and that number is higher in hurricane-prone areas like Florida. Verizon engineers have been preparing for the coming storm by ensuring fuel levels are high on all generators at cell sites, testing battery back-ups at network facilities, positioning extra equipment in case additional capacity is needed, and prepping emergency crews to respond quickly to any network issue. These are just a few of the reasons Verizon’s network is the network America relies on, in good times and bad.
In case emergency network recovery becomes necessary after the storm makes landfall, Verizon is prepared to respond quickly. Verizon maintains a fleet of over 500 portable assets, including fully functional, generator-powered cells sites that can replace or enhance network coverage and capacity in a given area as well as drones and a fixed wing aircraft that can provide service from the sky above. Additionally, Verizon boasts an industry-leading 150 satellite based portable network assets that can be used in case fiber connection is lost due to loss of commercial power or physical damage. Those assets include mid-Earth orbit and geosynchronous assets. All of those mobile assets are complemented by nearly a thousand portable generators and a comprehensive refueling program.
Are you ready for the storm?
Verizon’s retail team stands ready to assist customers and ensure they have the right devices, accessories and connectivity they’ll need to weather the storm. And convenient options like locker, curbside and in store pickup provide quick ways to get what customers need and get out.
In addition to the right tech, customers will want to take steps to ensure their families are prepared for the season as well. When a storm is forecast:
- Keep devices dry: While many phones today are some degree of water resistant, extra care could be needed to ensure phones, tablets, batteries, chargers and other equipment remain dry and accessible. Plastic zipper storage bags help shield devices, and there are weatherproof phones, phone cases and other protective accessories available.
- Keep devices fully charged: Make sure devices are ready by keeping phone and tablet batteries fully charged in case commercial power goes out.
- Get some backup: When power is out for an extended period of time, portable battery packs can be a game-changer to remain connected. Don’t forget car chargers as well in case evacuation is necessary.
- Create a list: Store emergency numbers in phones for easy access if needed.
- Be prepared for loss: Take pictures of valuables and other important belongings for possible insurance claims. And make sure they’re uploaded to the cloud as a backup.
- Review checklists: Review the hurricane preparedness checklist, power outage checklist and other resources from the American Red Cross.
- Download useful apps: There are plenty of free weather, news, and safety-related apps available for download.
Business continuity is critical
The need for a secure, stable connection for business continuity is never more apparent than during severe weather events and other emergencies. This is especially important with today’s increasingly common hybrid-work environments, in which highly distributed and mobile workforces are reliant on remote collaboration and digital networking tools to do business across wide and local areas simultaneously.
The Verizon Business portfolio of solutions provides continuity of service for customers, from SD-WAN, to advanced security tools, to cloud and edge applications and the BlueJeans by Verizon video collaboration platform, fleet management and tracking through Verizon Connect, fixed-wireless Internet for primary or backup connectivity. Verizon’s network-as-a-service strategy gives customers the flexibility to scale services as they require so that they’re ready for anything.
As businesses launch their in-office and at-home hybrid operations, now is a great time to assess readiness plans ahead of storm season. Suggested steps for businesses and government organizations include:
- Make sure contact information for all employees is updated and readily available, including at-home information for remote workers and branch information for satellite offices.
- Stress-test primary and backup networks and shore up any weak areas
- 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 backup plans are in place 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.
Verizon Frontline is ready to support first responders
The Verizon Frontline Crisis Response Team stands ready to deploy in support of public safety agencies nationwide — at no cost to the agency — to ensure they have the mission-critical communications support they need when responding to severe weather and other crisis events. In 2021, the team deployed 84 times, to 13 states, in support of first responders on the front lines of hurricane response efforts.
Composed of former first responders and military veterans, the Verizon Frontline Crisis Response Team provides on-demand, emergency assistance during crisis situations to public safety agencies and emergency responders. The team is available 24/7 to deliver Verizon Frontline technologies including portable cell sites, drones, charging stations, WiFi hotspots, and other Verizon Frontline devices and solutions that enable communications and/or boost network performance.
Verizon Frontline is the advanced network and technology built for first responders – developed over nearly three decades of partnership with public safety officials and agencies on the front lines – to meet their unique and evolving needs.
After an emergency, call before you dig
Debris clean up and property repair are important tasks after a storm. Before beginning to clean up and make repairs, call 811 or visit call811.com to determine where fiber or other cables are buried. Contacting 811 before any digging project, large or small, is the easiest step toward reducing the chance of damaging underground fiber and keeping customers and first responders connected in critical moments. Fiber is the invisible footprint that moves data throughout Verizon’s network across the country and around the world. Verizon owns and operates over 1 million miles of fiber; that’s enough to wrap around Earth 40 times. Cutting those cables when digging can result in customers losing service and data connections being lost. So before storm clean up begins, call 811.
**Editor’s Note: To access images and b-roll of past storms, Verizon equipment, recovery efforts and more, please visit Verizon’s Emergency Resource Hub at https://www.verizon.com/about/news/emergency-resource-center