Verizon Frontline Connects First Responders Battling Wildfires


With more than 60 wildfires actively burning in more than a dozen states, the Verizon Frontline Response Team is deploying mission-critical communications technology in support of public safety agencies and the nearly 10,000 wildland firefighters on the front lines.

This year, the Verizon Frontline Response Team has supported federal, state and local agencies at 49 named wildfires, including Arizona’s Tunnel Fire, New Mexico’s Hermits Peak Fire, Colorado’s Marshall Fire and the Washburn Fire in Yosemite National Park.  

When contacted by firefighters in a remote area needing additional signal coverage, the Verizon Frontline Response Team will roll out Satellite Picocells on Trailers, routers, network extenders, mobile hotspots and smartphones. At no cost to the agency, mission-critical voice and data service is provided to incident managers and firefighters to coordinate fire mitigation efforts.  

The Verizon Frontline Response Team consists of two groups: one in the eastern and the other in the western half of the U.S. who respond to all natural disasters, including special events where large groups of people are gathered. Many of the personnel are either former first responders themselves or former military or both.

“They have a lot of experience in this kind of thing,” said Krys Card Grondorf, Director, Communications, Verizon. “They work well with the first responders on the ground to set up either a virtual network or some other response support mechanism for them on the ground.”

Verizon Frontline, the advanced network and technology built for first responders, has been developed over nearly three decades of partnership with public safety officials and agencies on the front lines. “Even before we formally became Verizon in 2001, the companies that came together to form Verizon were already working with public safety agencies. So this is not a new endeavor for us,” Grondorf said.

By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor

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