Communications International, Harris Respond in Florida with Radios, Supplies
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 | Comments

Since Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida Sept. 10, Communications International (Ci) and Harris have deployed multiple resources to get critical communications restored to those areas severely impacted by the storm.

Making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, first in Cudjoe Key and then in Marco Island, Irma devastated areas throughout Monroe and Collier counties, rendering communications inoperable as it damaged radio towers and knocked out power lines throughout the state. In response, Ci deployed an emergency response team to restore communications to agencies on the Collier County radio system.

The team was comprised of employees from Ci’s locations in Daytona Beach, Rockledge, Vero Beach and Tampa, Florida, as well as its Goldsboro, North Carolina, office. The team also included Ci’s tower partners from around the state to complete and restore emergency communications. Team members transported supplies including food, water and fuel to Ci’s Naples location, which provides ongoing maintenance and support to Collier County’s radio system. Ci delivered an additional supply of portable radios and hundreds of batteries throughout the southwest portion of the state, including Naples and Marco Island, to further enable communications.

“The safety of our citizens and our first responders is always our top priority,” said Ci Vice President of Service Mike Reed. “As the storm drew closer, we worked with our customers along both coasts to confirm that their emergency operations centers (EOCs) had the proper resources to prepare themselves in the event of impact. We stationed personnel at EOCs in Volusia, Brevard and Collier counties during the hurricane. Since then, our employees have remained committed to doing whatever they can to resolve issues resulting from storm damage in Collier County and throughout the state, to ensure all impacted radio systems are fully operational.”

Harris worked closely with Ci to provide emergency response assistance to state and county users of the State Law Enforcement Radio System (SLERS) that were impacted. The SLERS system covers 58,000 square miles and supports 23,000 radio users including 7,000 state law enforcement users. Three Ci employees were among the first on the Harris response team that traveled to south Florida and the Keys where the need was most urgent.

Harris’ responders brought backup generators and 200 radios to Monroe County public-safety agencies. Conditions were so challenging that some members of the team had to travel by boat, working in cooperation with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC). There were many areas that were impassable, making customer sites unreachable by any other means.

“As of early Sept. 16, all sites were restored except for two in the Florida Everglades, which were not accessible at that time,” said Steven Williams, Harris’ operations manager for Florida SLERS. “The SLERS system is providing communications in the Keys not only for its customers, but for other agencies that did not have communications. I am very proud of everyone involved in this effort, and applaud the level of commitment they have demonstrated to our public-safety community and their families.”

Ci is a wireless systems integrator specializing in the design and implementation of mission-critical communications systems.

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