As the wildfires continue to burn through the dry terrain in western US states, Verizon is responding with critical communications to support the 8,000+ firefighters and first responders on the ground. During an emergency, first responders rely on wireless service more than ever to coordinate efforts and we are there to support those first responders and the communities they serve.
In California, we are bringing satellite communications service to a remote area where the Schaeffer Fire is burning in Sequoia National Forest, 17 miles north of Kernville in Kern County, CA. The US Forest Service Incident Management Team requested assistance for the fire base camp located at Black Rock Visitor center.
We are providing two satellite communications solutions to provide 4G LTE service. A Satellite Pico cell on a Trailer (SPOT) includes a 30-foot antenna mast with the satellite dish on top of the trailer. A portable mini-satellite dish with a 4G LTE eFemto cell, is also being used for additional wireless service.
In addition, where our existing network coverage is available, we are responding to requests for communications assistance by loaning wireless devices and jetpacks (portable wireless hot spots) to first responders at the Winters Fire (Yolo County), Alamo Fire (San Luis Obispo County), Wall Fire (Butte County) and Whittier Fire (Santa Barbara).
In Utah at Brian’s Head Fire, we deployed a Cell on Wheels (COW) to the Brian’s Head Fire command center and base camp near Panguitch, UT. The COW is a mobile cell site with multiple voice and data channels capable of processing thousands of calls and data transmissions simultaneously. The COW provides additional capacity for emergency crews accessing the Internet, sending text and video messages and making phone calls during disaster response efforts.
The base camp needed critical communications services to support over 1,000 firefighting personnel.
The fire started on June 17 and grew to the largest active blaze in the US last week, impacting 71,000 acres. The fire is now reportedly more than 80 per cent contained.
In Arizona, with sustained heat of over 120 degrees igniting and expanding wildfires, the flames have impacted tens of thousands of acres of land. To assist the first responders and residents of those areas, we have deployed multiple network repeaters which pick up a network signal, amplify it and point it to an area with weaker or no signal.
Being crisis-ready and crisis-proven is central to who we are as a company. We live it every day and will continue to work to ensure our customers can count on us to stay connected when they need us most.