Ruggedized, Mobile & Always-On Network Connectivity Maximizes Communications for Responders During Disasters

The last three years of hurricane seasons have been more than challenging to say the least.  Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti and the south eastern part of the U.S. in 2016, then Hurricane Irma — a Category 5 storm and the strongest Atlantic hurricane on record — tore through the Caribbean and Florida in 2017. Hurricane Harvey — which is tied with Hurricane Katrina for the costliest tropical cyclone on record inflicting $125 billion in damage — hit Houston, Texas in August 2017. In 2018 there were 15 named storms in Atlantic Hurricane season with Florence and Michael, categories 4 and 5, causing massive damage to Florida and the east coast. At this point, it’s almost as if we’re just waiting to see what this season has in store for us.

Atlantic Hurricane Season starts June 1st and ends November 30th every year. The best time to start preparing is before hurricane season begins; however, hurricanes become most active in September.  As hurricane season kicks off, cities and towns in hurricane prone regions gear up for the possibility of powerful winds, rainfall, flooding, storm surges, landslides, and even tornadoes that can be triggered from hurricanes and cause heavy devastation and loss of life.  Even “weak” hurricanes can cause major damage that affect the infrastructure of cities — such as knocked down power lines and blocked roads.

Cradlepoint can help arm disaster response teams with reliable network connectivity, in the worst of conditions and the most remote areas, for imperative response tasks such as:

  • Setting up a quick and easy to deploy network solution
  • Communicating to other responders for resources
  • Deploying emergency command centers
  • Communicating during search and rescue
  • Retaining a strong and reliable network connection throughout and after recovery operations

Quick Connectivity & Simple Network Configuration for Fast Response & Recovery

Stage one in disaster recovery is finding out what resources are needed and assigning which group will be in charge of what task, making communication a key component in being able to hit the ground running. 

When Hurricane Michael came through Port St. Joseph in Florida, first responders used Cradlepoint solutions to deploy a network connection to immediately access outside agencies to see what resources were available, such as hospitals, and begin calling in resources from outside agencies. The team was quickly able to set up the Cradlepoint router for fast and reliable network connectivity.

The Cradlepoint solution was utilized for mapping out where responders needed to help and when, requesting resources, and keeping the logistics teams in contact with the Gulf County Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

“The room was bustling the whole time with all levels of first responders from police, fire, EMS, hospitals, utility companies, military, volunteer coordinators, Red Cross, to local Internet providers all talking on the phone and passing information to coordinate rescue and recovery actions,” said Scott Ballard, Communication Unit Leader, Oregon State Fire Marshal’s IMT.

Once recovery was in process, the Cradlepoint solution remained deployed and was still in use for days, delivering reliable, unsaturated connectivity.

Mobile Units to Quickly Pop-Up Networks

After super Typhoon YuTu crashed into Saipan, Guam, and Tinian in 2018, missions were set up to get network connectivity for mission-communication going in and out and the airport operation.

Responders used Cradlepoint services, including an LTE-embedded router, 24×7 support, a WiFi access point, GPS and telematic integration, and cloud configuration and troubleshooting. The solution was installed inside transportable field mobile units, for a proven and dependable network solution delivering fast network setup and an always-on connection.

“We were running airport operations there delivering equipment to first responders, as well as the coordinating and accounting of equipment and people, and the Cradlepoint devices were the units that really kept us going. In this deployment, it was the most reliable means of communication available,” said Ed Minyard, President and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for disaster response group, ResponseForce1.

Connecting Those who Protect

We know how critical interoperable communications between responding agencies are during hurricanes and natural disasters.  Our goal is to ensure that responder’s devices and critical applications stay constantly connected to the network when it matters the most so first responders can continue to protect and serve our communities.


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