Wireless Carriers Corral COWs, GOATs to Prepare for Natural Disasters

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2015-06-10 Print this article Print
Verizon Disaster Recovery

While those mobile cell sites and generators are incredibly useful when communications infrastructure is damaged or destroyed, most of the time, the cell sites survive, but the power is out. For this reason, more than 90 percent of Verizon's cell sites have backup generators.

The other sites have backup battery power and the company rolls in some of those mobile generators if the power is out longer than that. The result is that communities are provided with communications, a service that is essential for public safety, search and rescue as well as to support recovery.

But you need more than just cell phones to keep your business running. For this reason, Verizon and other carriers will help companies prepare in advance for disasters. This may mean advice on preparing to restore your business from another location or how to restore phone service quickly. The company will send disaster planning specialists to customers to help with the preparation and to make arrangements for recovery when it's needed.

The company will also make equipment available to help businesses get back in operation, such as wireless routers that connect the LTE network to customer data networks to maintain Internet connectivity.

These wireless routers can be configured to support equipment such as point-of-sale devices and credit card readers so that businesses can keep operating after the disaster. This can be critical when people need to buy supplies or tools for recovery.

Some of these companies, including Verizon, go the extra mile. Serio said that one of the first things that the company does is start handing out phones to anyone in the disaster area who needs one. "When people are evacuated, they take their money and their pets" he said. "They don't always think about their phones."

And even if they do think about their phones, they frequently don't think about their chargers, which is the reason for those charging stations. Eventually, Verizon hopes that people return their loaner phones, but during the time that they're needed, disaster victims—whether individuals or companies—are welcome to use the phones until they are back on their feet.

It's easy to argue that Verizon Wireless is doing what they do in disasters because they're required to, but I think it's more than that. During the time I wandered through Verizon's compound, what I found was a sincere desire to provide help in as complete a way as possible. When a community has been ravaged by a national disaster, just knowing that somebody is working to reconnect you to the outside world can bring some measure of relief.


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