In a super secret location off the beaten path sits a nondescript building about 25,000 square feet in size. This is what Verizon calls their "Super Switch" facility.
"This is where all the magic happens," Steve Potter, the network operations manager, said as we walked through the door.
The facility is complete with computers, engineers and a whole lot of wires. But it's the building's bunker-like capacity that makes it so valuable this time of year.
"It's designed to withstand a category five hurricane," said Bob Swanz, Verizon's advanced solutions architect. "It has steel reinforced walls, a reinforced roof, reinforced interior walls."
On an average day, the facility processes about 10 million voice calls and up to 500 million data connections. This means if you're a Verizon customer in the Tampa Bay area and a hurricane were to hit, you need this building to function.
They've thought it through. The Verizon facility contains dual generators and battery plants that act as backup power systems. They even built their own in-house emergency operations center just in case.
"What this should provide you with is peace of mind," said senior switch technician Gregory Sansom.
Useful tips this hurricane season to make sure your cellphone functions in an emergency:
- Keep re-sealable plastic bags on hand to ensure your phones, tablets, laptops, batteries, chargers and other equipment stay dry.
- Opt for brief text messages rather than voice calls during a storm. Text messages are more likely to get through when wireless networks are overtaxed during crises.