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Spirit Wireless Keeps FEMA Connected During Hurricanes
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Spirit Wireless Keeps FEMA Connected During Hurricanes

39

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The 2004 Atlantic …

The 2004 Atlantic
Hurricane Season
was one of the
busiest and most destructive
in history. While late in
starting, there were at least
12 named storms resulting
in 21 federal disaster declarations
covering 13 states
and Puerto Rico. The havoc
caused by hurricanes
Charley, Frances, Ivan, and
Jeanne alone prompted the
largest relief effort ever
undertaken by the Federal
Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA), deploying
more than 5,000 FEMA
workers spread over 15 states.

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  • 1. Spirit Wireless Keeps FEMA Connected During Hurricanes he 2004 Atlantic Hurricane Season was one of the busiest and most destruc- tive in history. While late in starting, there were at least 12 named storms resulting in 21 federal disaster decla- rations covering 13 states and Puerto Rico. The havoc caused by hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne alone prompted the largest relief effort ever undertaken by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), deploy- ing more than 5,000 FEMA workers spread over 15 states. With cellular towers down or non- existent and power out in much of the hardest hit areas, FEMA needed a reli- able and mobile way to carry out opera- tions and communications with the mas- sive field force providing direct assis- tance to victims, especially in hard-hit Florida. Traditional satellite phones are equipped to be portable and are normal- ly stationary while in use. However, they must have clear access to the sky, mak- ing them inoperable when used inside moving emergency response vehicles. FEMA needed satellite phones for their field staff and for use in their mobile Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC), a mobile center where, among other ser- vices, victims can learn about housing assistance, file for flood insurance, obtain health and welfare assistance, receive crisis counseling, and obtain grants and loans through FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration. FEMA turned to Spirit Wireless, an independent Master Agent and manufac- turer of Globalstar equipment based out of Portland, Oregon. Spirit Wireless has taken satellite phones to the next level with the invention of the Globalstar Portable Docking Kit (GPDK-1410), which allows a user full duplex, hands- free communication on a satellite phone while in a moving vehicle or other remote location using a Globalstar Qual- comm GSP-1600 CDMA satellite phone. With satellite phone equipment pro- vided by Spirit Wireless, emergency crews quickly set up c o m m u n i c a t i o n s channels to prioritize disaster relief efforts for emergency per- sonal and victims so that resources were better utilized and families got in touch more quickly with loved ones. The satel- lite phones were also used to assist home- owners and business- es in areas where other forms of con- nected communica- tions became useless due to the storms. Because of heavy demand for the product and the urgent need to get communications devices to emer- gency personnel, Spirit Wireless employ- ees undertook enormous efforts to supply satellite phones and docking kits to FEMA. Faced with their largest order ever, and under time pressures to deliver products in between storms, Spirit Wire- less chartered their own jet and flew directly to disaster areas in Florida to hand-deliver over 300 satellite phones to FEMA. To date, Spirit Wireless has built 427 systems to the Federal Emergency Man- agement Agency (FEMA), the largest procurement ever of satellite phones by the agency. –David T. Oro CORPORATE NEWS T 8 9 - 1 - 1 M a g a z i n e SPIRITWIRELESS Spirit Wireless employees set-up Globastar satellite phones at a FEMA Mobile Disaster Recovery Center in the aftermath of last year's hurricanes. 9-1-1M A G A Z I N E MANAGING EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS

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