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Press release from PR Newswire

Georgia's Severe Weather Awareness Week Spotlights Need For Communication Plans

Monday, February 04, 2013

Georgia's Severe Weather Awareness Week Spotlights Need For Communication Plans09:54 EST Monday, February 04, 2013Verizon Wireless Issues Tips to Stay Connected to Family and Friends During Weather EventsALPHARETTA, Ga., Feb. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Governor Deal has declared February 4 ? 8, 2013 as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Georgia. Last week's severe storms reminded Georgians what can happen when weather strikes. Georgians should be preparing an emergency communication plan to keep their families safe and in touch during any severe weather event.Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless carrier, offers these tips when severe weather threatens: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 Georgia from hurricanes, violent thunderstorms, wildfires and tornadoes," 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 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. The company's ongoing network investment in Georgia now totals over $2 billion since the company was formed in 2000. As a result, in the aftermath of even the most devastating weather the Verizon Wireless network in Georgia has remained strong while many other wireless communication networks struggled to serve emergency response officials and residents. Verizon Wireless' storm preparation includes:Wireless Emergency Communication Centers (WECCs) to serve residents and rescue agencies in the area(s) in the greatest need. The company deployed a WECC in Gordon County last week in the wake of the tornado. 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. 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 Georgia. 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. 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 98.2 million retail customers, including 92.5 million retail postpaid customers.  Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with more than 73,000 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 WirelessFor further information: Kate Jay, Verizon Wireless, +1-678-339-4828, Kate.Jay@verizonwireless.com, @VZWKate