Verizon in Florida for Hurricane Ian Response

image: Verizon

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, the Response Team from Verizon is in Florida – with drones and other deployables to restore communications and provide first responders with critical aerial awareness.

All images courtesy Verizon, used with express permission.

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Just days after Hurricane Ian swept through Florida, causing major destruction and downing communications infrastructure, VerizonFrontline was there with drones, trucks and trailers—more than 100 deployables providing tools for recovery efforts.

Eric Durie, Verizon Public Sector, Communications Manager, was on the ground with the team when DRONELIFE reached out to discuss the use of Verizon’s tethered drone restoring communications over Sanibel Island. The barrier island was particularly hard hit by the storm. A portion of the causeway linking the island to the mainland has been destroyed, hindering rescue and recovery efforts. Governor Ron DeSantis called the destruction on Sanibel Island “biblical,” and door to door rescue efforts continue.

image: Verizon

Verizon has launched a tethered drone outfitted with a cellular node (a flying cell site) that is providing cellular coverage from the air to support search and rescue teams and first responders on the ground. The drone provides coverage for an approximate 5-7 mile radius, and can fly for up to 1,000 hours.

“This tethered drone is just one of more than 100 mobile assets Verizon and Verizon Frontline have here to support the community and first responders during response and recovery efforts,” says Durie. “Drones have been deployed over Sanibel Island, Cape Coral and Fort Myers, Florida to provide temporary cell service, assess damages and expedite recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Ian. These required special clearance to deploy the drones, including FAA authorization and special government interest (SGI) waivers.”

image: Verizon. Drone map

image: Verizon

The deployment of communications equipment, ground and air deployables, and staff is only part of Verizon’s response to Hurricane Ian. In addition to their work on the ground, as of October 4 Verizon is providing unlimited calling, texting and data through October 11, 2022 for Charlotte, Collier, Desoto, Hardee, Lee and Sarasota counties. (More information here: https://www.verizon.com/featured/relief/)

Verizon also has established Wireless Emergency Communication Centers. “providing charging, free wifi and free portable power packs for any member of the community on any carrier,” according to the Verizon site. Wireless Emergency Communication Centers can be found at the following locations:

  • Port Charlotte Town Center Mall, 1441 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, FL (open daily 10:00am – 6:00pm)

  • 2525 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL (open daily 8:00am – 5:00pm)

See more images and updates here, from the Verizon page.

Read more about Verizon:

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.

TWITTER: @spaldingbarker

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