Wildfires in California are an ever present threat, and faulty communications exacerbate the problem, reports NBC Bay Area. When people are in danger and the threat is a moving one, cell phone failures are unacceptable, says the California Public Advocate’s Office. The Public Advocate’s Office has urged the state of California to require the installation of backup generators or batteries at cell towers sites that are in high risk locations.
Though not currently enforced at either a state or a federal level, it has been recommended that providers install more powerful back up batteries and generators at cell tower sites.
“The failure of our communications systems in emergencies is a life or death matter, and one that must be addressed immediately,” they stated, adding, “The Commission should no longer tolerate the extensive periods, over two years in some cases, of not meeting the outage standards.”
Investigators have determined that in 2017, over one million callers were unable to connect to 911 in emergency situations. Fines have been levied against some offenders, but the Advocate’s office has stated that the outage problems persist.
Studies have concluded that 80 percent of the calls received by emergency services are transmitted via cell phones. Providers have also been encouraged to strengthen both call routing and alert messages so that people in areas prone to fires and floods can be kept safe.
May 24, 2019