Communications breakdown: keeping teams connected during disasters

Hurricane Ida reached land around 12:00 on August 29 – the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina – near Port Furchon, Los Angeles. As a Category 4 storm, Ida was hit by strong winds of 150 miles per hour, making it one of the most life-threatening storms that hit Los Angeles, Michigan and Alabama before blowing inland and up northeast. part of the United States. Ida has caused historic and devastating floods and threats to public health, safety and infrastructure.

Many federal and state agencies, dependent on communications during disasters, do this through critical infrastructure (CI). It is a complex and interconnected system and relies on its secure functionality in events such as Hurricane Ida and risks losing electricity, transportation, water, healthcare and communications.

Those who activate such communications are soldiers and pilots assigned to the National Guard Bureau who coordinated Hurricane Ida’s response efforts by the National Guard Coordination Center in Arlington, Virginia, including those of the New Jersey National Guard (NJARNG). which ensured the transfer of communications and technology to key resources and assets. One CI system used within NJARNG during Ida is the mapping and tracking of emergency management information (EMMIT).

“When the New Jersey National Guard receives a request for support from a civilian agency, the main means of contact is a web-based application,” said U.S. Army Major Justin Moore, an operations officer at the NJARNG Joint Operations Center. “We are also talking on the phone with the Trenton-based Regional Operations Intelligence Center, which facilitates backup power generators. In the event of a total eclipse, we send a “runaway” to transmit messages. Fortunately, it didn’t get there.
“We can communicate with our planes through the UHF and VHF, which can also speak in the same lane as the New Jersey police.