Staying connected during Hurricane Irma: 6 tips

ALPHARETTA, Ga., Sept. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- As Hurricane Irma maintains its Category 5 strength as it impacts parts of the Caribbean, now is an important time to stop and ensure you and your loved ones are prepared to stay connected if and when the superstorm makes landfall in the U.S. Verizon is there with you when you need us.

The reliability of your wireless network is never more important than when a crisis strikes. That's when a simple call or text message can keep you connected and be the most important communication you make in times of an emergency.

"We prepare year-round to keep you connected when you need it most," said Sergei Mislevy, executive director for network assurance for Verizon Wireless. "Our network is designed with end-to-end reliability in mind - for individuals, businesses, emergency responders and everyone who needs connectivity when the unexpected happens."

Here are a few things you can do to prepare when severe weather threatens.

1. Charge your devices before a storm hits, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, DVD players, flashlights and radios; to preserve battery life, dim the background light on your screen and turn off background data applications or Wi-Fi search services

2. Create a list of emergency phone numbers and email addresses, including police, fire and rescue agencies; power companies; insurance providers; and family, friends and co-workers. Program them into your phone, smartphone, tablet or laptop and also have a hard copy handy, someplace easily accessible

3. Text, don't call. When communicating with family during an emergency situation, opt for brief text messages rather than voice calls. Text messages are likely to get through more quickly in a crisis

4. Program your smartphone to receive emergency alerts. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are free wireless notifications that are delivered to your mobile device as part of a public safety system

5. Know your apps:

    --  Download weather applications and alerts that provide users with a
        variety of information such as radar images, forecasts and severe storm
    --  Download apps and subscribe to alerts from aid and relief organizations
        such as the American Red Cross' apps for first aid, hurricane and
        shelter, and the Commercial Mobile Alert System from the Federal
        Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
    --  Use your free flashlight app. All smartphones have a free flashlight app
        in case the power goes out

6. Backup your information on Verizon Cloud. Verizon Wireless offers backup assistance through the Verizon cloud to store your phone's address book and contact information as well as pictures and other content on a secure server

Verizon customers connect with friends and family in the Caribbean for free

Beginning today, Wednesday, September 6, Verizon will initially offer free wireless and wireline calling from the U.S. to the following Caribbean nations: the British Virgin Islands; Puerto Rico; Dominican Republic; Haiti; and Turks and Caicos. More countries may be added as the storm progresses during the week, as well as additional support to our customers in the U.S.

For more information on the Verizon Wireless network, visit

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York City, has a diverse workforce of 163,400 and generated nearly $126 billion in 2016 revenues. Verizon operates America's most reliable wireless network and the nation's premier all-fiber network, and delivers integrated solutions to businesses worldwide. Its Oath subsidiary houses more than 50 media and technology brands that engage about 1 billion people around the world.

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Media contact:
Kate Jay
Twitter: @kateharrisjay

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SOURCE Verizon