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With Ophelia setting its sights on the Carolina coast, Verizon Wireless prepares network

Posted Tuesday, September 13, 2005

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Wilmington, NC - With Hurricane Ophelia projected to impact the Carolina coast this week, Verizon Wireless is preparing its network and offering residents these important tips during severe weather:

- Keep wireless phone batteries charged -- in case local power is lost well before warnings are issued.

- Have additional fully-charged batteries and car-charger adapters available for back-up power.

- Keep phones, batteries, chargers and other equipment in a dry, accessible location.

- Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers -- police, fire and rescue agencies; power companies; insurance providers; family, friends and co-workers; etc. -- and program them into your phone.

- Distribute wireless phone numbers to family members and friends.

- When dialing 9-1-1, remember to hit the "Send" key and state your location.

In the Carolinas, more than 80 percent of the individual transmission sites operated by Verizon Wireless have their own on-site back-up generators. This capability could be critical if roads are impassable in the wake of a storm. The company's fleet of portable generators have been fueled and placed on standby in areas most likely to be affected, and fuel companies have been scheduled to assist in keeping the generators running.

Throughout the year, Verizon Wireless goes through comprehensive disaster recovery plans to test emergency generators and back-up batteries to help keep the network online in the event of a power outage.

The company also has a mobile fleet of Cells on Wheels (COWs) and Cells on Light Trucks (COLTs), which are self-powered transmitters that can be rolled into hard hit locations or areas that need extra network capacity. Additional tips for Hurricane Ophelia include:

- Limit non-emergency calls to conserve battery power and free up wireless networks for emergency agencies and operations.

- Send brief TXT Messages rather than voice calls, to help keep networks clear.

- Keep up with weather and news reports using Internet-connected wireless phones when power is out.

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