Thursday, September 01, 2005

New Orleans Cops Use Single Radio Channel

An AP newswire article by Bruce Myerson, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

When the phones don't work, improvise. That's what emergency responders and civilians were forced to do in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which trashed the telephone system on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi.

Police in New Orleans, their main communications system knocked out, have been taking turns talking on a single radio channel with their walkie talkies. The Mississippi National Guard even resorted to ancient battlefield tactics, sending runners back and forth among commanders with information.

And a local sheriff, Sid Hebert of Iberia Parish, helped keep an ambulance company handling medical evacuations across southern Louisiana running by loaning it a portable command center.

"He personally drove it to (our headquarters). He got us back on the air," said Richard Zuschlag, chief executive of Acadian Ambulance Service Inc.

By Thursday, nearly 10,000 satellite-based wireless phones had poured into the hurricane zone to coordinate relief efforts by federal disaster personnel and Red Cross workers, said service providers Globalstar LLC and Iridium Satellite LLC.


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