Verizon stands ready to handle extreme heat, power outages and wildfires

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As a record-breaking heat wave in California and the western states has residents enduring rolling power outages while hundreds of wildfires threaten urban, suburban and rural areas across the region are preparing for extreme situations.

Verizon is committed to making sure its customers can connect with the people and get the information they need when it matters most.

In addition to having backup batteries, Verizon has permanent generators at the majority of our cell sites (towers) and all of its switch locations (network nerve center), which it is able to refuel during extended power outages. These backup energy sources help keep its network running when commercial power is lost.

Verizon has made preparations to ensure that its network is ready for power outages and wildfires in the Western states.

Support for first responders: More public safety professionals rely on Verizon than any other network. During times of crisis, we provide network priority and preemption for first responders at no cost to public safety agencies. This gives first responders access to the network when they need it. Additionally, when disaster strikes, the Verizon Response Team (VRT) is available 24/7 365 days a year to coordinate with first responders to provide essential technologies during a crisis. During wildfires, the VRT mobilizes charging stations, devices, special equipment, emergency vehicles and more to support local, state and federal agencies across the US. We are currently providing communications support to multiple fire command units in California.

COVID-19 safety for field teams: We have worked to ensure we have the necessary personal equipment and processes in place for our field teams who may have to enter highly populated areas like shelters or operations centers. We have virtualized many command center functions to make it easier for our engineers working on network repairs and deploying mobile assets to remain socially distanced

Redundancy equals reliability/Backups for the backups: We employ backup generators and HVAC systems, as well as redundant fiber rings for hub sites and switching centers to keep the network running and customers connected when commercial power is lost or water damage occurs

Year-round preparation: We run Emergency Operation Center drills throughout the year to ensure our team is ready and equipped to respond to emergencies

Support for the community: We have mobile Wireless Emergency Communications Centers, Tactical Command Trailers, and Response Trailers ready to deploy to support first responders and community members with recovery efforts

Drones: We have surveillance drones on standby to help assess damage from a wildfire

Satellite assets: We have a fleet of new satellite-equipped portable cell sites and have secured dedicated satellite links for connection. If fiber or microwave is damaged by fire or other causes, access and space permitting, we can deploy satellite-enabled portable equipment and dedicated satellite links, along with the fleet of portable generators keep the network running without commercial power

Comprehensive fleet management: When wildfires strike, it’s critical for mobile businesses to know where their people, assets and vehicles are. The Verizon Connect fleet management platform provides greater visibility and situational awareness to help move people and assets out of harm’s way and plan a more coordinated return to business once the fire has been fully contained and evacuation orders have been lifted.