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In a town called Cut Off, see how tethered drones keep first responders connected.

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In this part of coastal Louisiana, 30 miles from Grand Isle, FEMA has set up a temporary camp where first responders spend nights after helping locals recover from Hurricane Ida. The tired crews probably didn’t expect to be able to call home from such a storm-ravaged and remote location, especially when the nearest town is called Cut Off.

But the team from Verizon had other plans. They also had some of the latest high-tech equipment, including a tethered drone that carries a ‘flying cell site’ or Compact Aerial Transceiver (CAT).

“We pulled in and within an hour, we were in the air providing coverage,” said Rick Moen, Network Assurance Engineer.

The drone is a quick way to get service restored and an innovative way to get a receiver higher than the 60 feet that a vehicle with a mast can provide. If needed, the CAT can stay in the air continuously for a week without coming down.

“People were really excited when they arrived and realized their phones were working,” said Rick. “It gives them a chance to talk to loved ones and let them know they’re doing okay out here.”

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