General Preparedness

Restoring cell phone service as a higher response priority.

Make restoring cell phone service after an incident a high response priority. Data is showing that nearly a majority of Americans use their cell phones as their primary communication device, and that of these, an increasing number no longer have land-line phone service.

 

The first thing many people in our connected society do is call someone when something happens. Then, they call each other and more people.

 

At several incidents, such as the I-35 Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis, MN, cell phones were an important part of the early response. They were silenced as cell phone service was quickly overtasked. Interoperable radios were then the primary means of communication and they worked well because in MN they operate on a highly resilient system.

 

Power outages can also cripple the ability of cell service infrastructure to function. So, we must also make power supply to this emergeing critical infrastructure a priority and part and parcel with service restoration/preparedness.

 

Restoring cell service as soon as practically possible would help ease public panic, increase the EM community's ability to notify, and create a more resilient citizen response to disaster.

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Idea No. 267