Wireless Communication Proves Useful in Critical Situations; Nextel Users Share Firsthand Experiences, 'Good Samaritan' Safety Tips for Customers
RESTON, Va., May 26, 2004 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- In observance of Wireless Safety Week, Nextel Communications Inc.
(NASDAQ:NXTL) recognizes the stories of its customers, who survived
natural disasters, saved lives and averted tragic situations with the
use of their Nextel(R) wireless phones. And to remind everyone to use
wireless technology responsibly, Nextel offers a number of wireless
safety tips to keep in mind this week, and all year long.
"At critical times, it's the courageous and timely actions of
individuals that ultimately make a difference in the outcome of a
situation," said Greg Meacham, Nextel's vice president of federal
programs and homeland security. "Ordinary individuals can do
extraordinary things when they remain calm during times of crisis. We
are proud to recognize the actions of our customers and the role
wireless communications plays in helping save lives."
In the past year alone, Nextel received thousands of letters from
customers whose wireless devices empowered them to help others, and
themselves, in emergencies. From calling 911 to utilizing Direct
Connect(R)--Nextel's long-range digital walkie-talkie feature--to warn
others of danger, these good Samaritans have performed heroic acts and
demonstrated the importance of generating awareness for Wireless
Some examples include:
-- Beatrice Standridge, Kansas City, Kan.--Beatrice Standridge's
niece and her family are alive today because of quick thinking
and Nextel's instant walkie-talkie service. Beatrice and her
husband of Kansas City, Kan., were watching the news in their
basement during a severe storm and saw that a tornado was
headed straight towards their niece's home, which had lost
power in the storm. Beatrice's husband used Nextel's
walkie-talkie service to alert her niece's husband and family
to stay in the basement and that a tornado was bearing down on
them. Beatrice's niece and family survived the tornado because
of the warning, but their house and most of their belongings
"If they didn't have their Nextel phones, I know that things
would have been more disastrous, maybe even fatal."
-- Mark Vargo, Three Rivers, Mich.--For Mark Vargo, a neighbor's
frantic Direct Connect call prompted him to rush to her aid
after she suffered an allergic reaction from a bee sting. With
only seconds to act, Mark utilized multiple features on his
Nextel phone to get help quickly. Direct Connect(SM)
walkie-talkie service allowed Mark's neighbor to contact him
instantly, while Nextel's cellular service helped Mark get
through to 911 immediately. And by using the Address Book
feature on his neighbor's phone, Mark was able to have
immediate access to important contacts, without ever leaving
"All the functions of our Nextel phones came into play that
day; every second counted."
-- Gary Flaskegaard, Hampton, Va.--Following the devastating
impact of Hurricane Isabelle, Gary Flaskegaard returned to his
home in Hampton, Va. to assess the damages and begin cleanup.
He soon realized that the only phone service that worked was
Nextel, and he became the unofficial operator for friends,
neighbors and total strangers.
"No phone service other than Nextel worked for about five
days, so I ended up being the island operator for people. Even
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration) asked to
use my phone."
The power and benefit of communication in a time of crisis is
invaluable. Each day 150,000 calls around the country are placed to
emergency personnel from wireless phones. Nextel offers the following
general safety tips to help ensure everyone uses their wireless
devices safely and securely:
-- Program your phone with emergency contact numbers.
-- Dial 911 in the event of an emergency and be prepared to give
specific location information. Calls to 911 on Nextel are free
-- Make sure your phone batteries are fully charged and free from
-- Use Push To Talk(SM) walkie-talkie service for instant
communication on a Nextel(R) phone.
-- Use location based services empowered by Nextel's GPS enabled
phones to provide monitoring and tracking capabilities for
safety and security purposes.
Nextel encourages all wireless phone users to drive smart and talk
safely. Your Nextel wireless phone is a great communications tool. You
can instantly call for help in emergencies or alert your next
appointment that you're running late. Here are some important safety
tips for drivers:
-- Give driving your full attention. Don't let anything interfere
with your concentration.
-- Assess road conditions before making or taking a call.
-- Let voice mail pick up when it's inconvenient or unsafe to
answer the phone.
-- Program your most frequently dialed numbers into your phone
for speed dialing, have a passenger dial for you or use voice
-- Position your phone where it is easy to see and reach.
-- Keep your eyes on the road. Never take notes while driving.
-- Consider using a hands-free speakerphone or hands-free
accessory, which allows you to keep both hands on the wheel
-- Use your phone's Internet capabilities and java applications
before you drive, or while parked.
-- Be a Good Samaritan. Dial 911 in emergencies to report
accidents, impaired or aggressive drivers, crimes or fires.
It's a free call. Know your Nextel phone number so emergency
services personnel can call you back if necessary.
Nextel observes Wireless Safety Week to focus attention on the
important issue of public safety. Nextel reminds everyone of the
important role wireless plays in both personal and public safety,
encourages the responsible use of wireless technology while driving,
and highlights "Wireless Samaritans" who have used their wireless
phones to assist in emergency situations. Nextel is proud to be a part
of this important safety outreach that is highlighted annually in May
but practiced all year long.
Nextel Communications, a FORTUNE 200 company based in Reston, Va.,
is a leading provider of fully integrated wireless communications
services and has built the largest guaranteed all-digital wireless
network in the country covering thousands of communities across the
United States. Today 95 percent of FORTUNE 500(R) companies are Nextel
customers. Nextel and Nextel Partners, Inc. currently serve 295 of the
top 300 U.S. markets where approximately 252 million people live or
SOURCE: Nextel Communications Inc.
Nextel Communications Inc., Reston
Aimee Metrick, 703-433-4795
Paul Blalock, 703-433-4300