OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Aug 21, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- Severe weather can hit anywhere in the United States with little or no warning. From ice storms in the Northwest and Midwest tornadoes, to fires in the deep South and hurricanes in the Southeast, residents must stay on high alert and be prepared for potential weather emergencies.

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According to a recent Harris Interactive poll, only 58 percent of people surveyed said they are prepared for a long-term power outage or a disaster such as a hurricane, earthquake, flood, wild land fire or terrorist attack by having the necessary supplies. In light of this information, EMBARQ (NYSE: EQ) has committed to helping consumers and businesses prepare their communication services to ensure they remain connected during severe weather and disasters.

EMBARQ, drawing from its many years of experience, is meeting the challenge of severe weather preparedness in a variety of ways, including:

-- Announcing a partnership with Washington D.C. based Home Safety Council (HSC). EMBARQ and the HSC have created wallet-sized emergency communication cards that include space to list important phone numbers and medical information. Each card comes in a small, sealable plastic bag to help protect it from water damage. The cards can be downloaded from Embarq.com/severeweather and are available at EMBARQ retail stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Florida. 

-- Instituting a free Corded Phone Give Away Program in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina where customers can pick up a free corded phone at any EMBARQ retail store. Free corded phones are currently available in South Florida, Central Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina (while supplies last). If you are not in one of these areas, EMBARQ reminds customers they should have one simple, corded phone (not requiring electricity) at home. Not all cable and Internet phones work when the power goes out. Landline home phone service is typically the most reliable form of communication during severe weather. 

-- Soon after a disaster occurs, EMBARQ Payphone Services, Inc. will deploy and set up portable phone banks in central locations where residents can place calls. The phone banks, which are mobile and can be in an affected area within 24 hours of a disaster, give each person up to 15 minutes of calling time, and are stationed in an affected area for up to 30 days as needed. Phone banks are deployed into areas in EMBARQ's 18-state territory that are most likely to be affected by disasters.

Business Disaster Preparedness

The Small Business Administration (2006) estimates that up to 25 percent of small businesses do not reopen after a major disaster like a flood, fire, hurricane or tornado, according to its website http://www.sba.gov. EMBARQ recommends that businesses meet the challenge of severe weather by developing a comprehensive disaster preparedness plan and a disaster recovery team that has access to both corded landline and wireless devices. Because missing phone calls can translate to missing revenue, businesses can maintain their operations during severe weather by relying on EMBARQ communication services.

Each year, EMBARQ spends countless hours and significant dollars to safeguard its network from the effects of hurricanes and severe weather. EMBARQ has continuously improved and reinforced the network in case severe weather jeopardizes residents' connectivity. EMBARQ monitors storms and mobilizes personnel and equipment for use before and after a storm hits.

"Our technicians are constantly checking the network and identifying areas which may need to be safeguarded from potential damage," said Jim Hansen, senior vice president of Network Services at EMBARQ. "EMBARQ's disaster preparations are a year-round exercise. The emphasis on planning is instrumental in quickly restoring service to affected areas following severe weather."

SOURCE EMBARQ

 

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