PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., Dec. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- "'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there." That's the tranquil scene described by Clement Clarke Moore in his classic poem from 1822. Now children – one and all – can track Santa Claus, with the touch of a button or the click of a mouse!
Santa's journey on Christmas Eve will unfold, courtesy of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, Verizon and the rest of the NORAD Tracks Santa team.
To enable children across the world to track Santa's progress on that night, Verizon for the 10th consecutive year will provide the toll-free hotline – 1-877-HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) – and contact-center call-handling technology. The hotline will be in operation from 4 a.m. on Dec. 24 until 3 a.m. (Mountain Standard Time) on Dec. 25. (Callers outside North America can reach the hotline by dialing the local Colorado Springs number at 719-556-5211, using the applicable country code. International calling charges may apply.)
In addition to providing the toll-free hotline and call-handling capabilities, and employee volunteers to answer the hotline calls, Verizon is providing high-speed wireless data connectivity over its 4G LTE wireless network to help Santa-tracking volunteers respond to emails, download apps and track Santa's progress.
Starting at 12 a.m. MST on Dec. 24, children can visit the NORAD Tracks Santa website to view real-time information, including radar maps and streaming "SantaCam" video images on Santa's exact location as he visits cities, towns and villages on his annual journey. Information will be available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese and Chinese.
Also beginning Dec. 24, children can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain the latest information on Santa's whereabouts. For technology-savvy children, a free NORAD Tracks Santa mobile app (iOS, Android, Windows) is available for download so they can count down the days until Santa Claus and his reindeer begin their journey from the North Pole. Santa can also be tracked via Facebook, Twitter (@noradsanta) and YouTube.
"Supporting the NORAD Tracks Santa program is an important way for Verizon and its employees to give back to the communities around the globe that we serve," said Susan Zeleniak, senior vice president of public sector markets, Verizon Enterprise Solutions. "Even though we now use the Internet and mobile apps to track Santa, the purpose is still the same – keeping people connected and informed every day, especially on Christmas Eve and throughout the holiday season."
2012 marks the 57th year that NORAD, the binational U.S.-Canadian military organization responsible for defending the aerospace of both countries, has tracked Santa's Christmas Eve travels. The NORAD Tracks Santa tradition began in 1955 after a misprinted newspaper advertisement directed children to call the Continental Air Defense Command (NORAD's predecessor organization) instead of a retailer's special Santa hotline.
This year, Verizon employees will again join more than 1,200 volunteers -- including military personnel, their families and friends, and other corporate contributors -- in staffing the hotline and the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center. In 2011, nearly 102,000 calls and 7,700 emails were answered. The NORAD Tracks Santa website had 18.9 million unique visitors from 220 countries and territories during December 2011.
U.S. Navy Captain Jeff Davis, NORAD director of public affairs, said, "It's a big job, and we can't do it alone, but the holidays have always been a time for bringing people together. With the help of our industry partners and friends in Canada, the NORAD Tracks Santa tradition that started as a mistake will live on again this year."
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