Modern data and voice communications have become essential services. This is true for First Responders as well as the public that they serve. An internet connection plays a vital role in every aspect of an emergency, including the 9-1-1 call, responder alerting, dispatching, command and coordination, and emergency scene operations. Public expectation and the expanding size and complexity of modern incidents requires evacuation orders and warnings that are delivered through systems that do not work without data. Communicating information of all kinds to the public requires technologies like Twitter, live streaming, text messages and web pages. There is no portion of dealing with an emergency that is not negatively impacted by the failure of communications infrastructure.
For example, in recent years, California wildfires have grown in both their size and frequency. At several incidents, firefighters have had to battle raging flames in remote locations where either no communications infrastructure existed or service was lost as cellular towers, power lines and other hardware were destroyed by the fire. Not only was this a physical disaster for those affected, the public trust in government and related agencies relied upon for protection and service was diminished.
Nearly 80 cell towers were damaged or destroyed, complicating efforts by even those with a charged battery to contact relatives or call for emergency assistance” (‘A serious, critical, catastrophic event’: At least 21 dead as California wildfires spread, Washington post)
In other incidents, firefighting personnel could not deliver communications to firefighters, other emergency personnel and civilians because their equipment lacked rapid-deployment mobility or were otherwise unable to meet critical needs in rapidly changing, highly complex, and extremely dangerous situations. As a direct result of these failures, homes and businesses were destroyed, and lives were lost.
“Cellphones that we all have become reliant on have limited ability to connect during these wildfires. Fire victims have struggled to get in touch with family and friends because of down cell service. ‘[Cal Fire Staff] are pretty much reliant on our radio traffic with our handheld radios and radios in our vehicles.’ The problem with connectivity starts with power and fiber cable damage.” (Fire Victims Frustrated by Lack of Wireless Connectivity, KQED News)
Communications failures such as described above, can no longer be excused. For public trust and confidence, and to better serve communities and protect life and property in 2021 and beyond, firefighters and the other emergency personnel they serve alongside require fully infrastructure independent communications capabilities that are more reliable, more versatile, and much more robust than even the best tools at their current disposal. M.O.S.E.S.® is one such solution.
M.O.S.E.S.® (Mobile Operations Satellite Emergency System) is OptiStreams’ flagship communications platform - a rapidly deployable, highly mobile, highly durable and infrastructure independent platform that provides various and robust communications capabilities, while also improving the performance and durability of traditional emergency communications tools. This non-technical, single-personnel “set-up and go” communications platform with on-board power capabilities allows a single non-technical operator to provide an array of communications capabilities over a wide area to multiple simultaneous users within 15 minutes of deployment – which can be by small vehicle tow, helicopter lift, or pre-placement.
M.O.S.E.S.® delivers uninterrupted connectivity through cellular (4G/LTE), satellite (geosynchronous), or wired connection. M.O.S.E.S.®’ high-speed, low-cost cellular connections significantly outperform more traditional cellular connections and, where cellular is unavailable, the satellite connectivity provides reliable, high-speed low-cost bandwidth in nearly any scenario, including widespread failures resulting from fires, earthquakes, and significant acts of terrorism or sabotage. Further, M.O.S.E.S.®’ mesh network and new cybersecurity capabilities bring secure, flexible and ever-expanding coverage to base camps and their operating envelope, regardless of size.
Incorporating M.O.S.E.S.® into first response communications strategy is the smart decision for any public leader or first response personnel. It reflects lessons learned from past communications failures and a strong commitment to public safety and protection, which in turn builds confidence and support from constituents.
“There is a dire need for a new technology system after faulty cell service affected communications between first responders and the public during the Mendocino Complex Fire last year.”
"The operational capabilities these [M.O.S.E.S.®] units bring to the county is unmatched anywhere in the state."
"As we learned in the campfire once the cellular infrastructure fails, we need something that can stand alone"
“This equipment [M.O.S.E.S. ®] can close communications gaps in large incidents and support our first responders”
"Having that communication equipment (M.O.S.E.S. ®), absolutely translates to saving lives."
“With county fire generously volunteering to absorb the cost of operating and deploying this technology across northern California, the M.O.S.E.S.® system will surely become a regional and statewide asset,”