Ridgeland, Miss. (June 15, 2018) – With the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season just underway, C Spire is introducing a new public safety data priority service today designed to help local and state emergency first responders send and receive critical mobile data communications during a crisis or natural disaster.
The free service gives emergency personnel, including state and local government, police, fire and other designated public health and safety professionals, priority data network access on C Spire’s 4G LTE network. The feature, which requires applicants to apply at www.cspire.com/publicsafety, can be added to a designated account in less than 48 hours.
C Spire already waives the one-time activation charge and monthly service fee for Wireless Priority Service, a companion service that gives eligible emergency response agencies and personnel a higher priority voice connection to its mobile communications network during a crisis or natural disaster.
“In an emergency situation, essential voice and data communications are critical for public safety and emergency responders who need to get through as fast as possible,” said C Spire Chief Network Officer Keith Paglusch, noting that hurricanes, widespread flooding and tornadoes cause billions of dollars in damage, injuries and result in deaths every year in the Southeast.
The latest outlook for the 2018 hurricane season from Colorado State University, considered the nation’s top forecaster, calls for 14 tropical storms (wind speeds of 39 mph or higher) and six hurricanes (74 mph or higher winds) forming in the Atlantic Ocean during the six-month period that officially began on June 1.
While this year is expected to be an average year for hurricanes, even lower threat years have produced catastrophic impacts on communities. In 2015, the remnants of Hurricane Joaquin dumped 24 inches of rain in South Carolina and caused over $1 billion in damages. Earlier, the Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds sunk the U.S. container ship El Fargo near the Bahamas, drowning all 33 crew members on board.
Last year was considered an above average season with 17 named storms and 10 hurricanes, six of which were considered major, including the first two major hurricanes (Harvey and Irma) to hit the continental U.S. in 12 years. Harvey, Irma and Maria made 2017 the costliest hurricane season on record with over $282 billion in damages.
Paglusch said it is critical for first responders to be able to communicate during emergencies. “We want to support emergency responders by making these important voice and data resources available and affordable for cities, counties and state entities responsible for protecting the public during times of crisis or natural disaster,” he added.
“We have a track record of service and innovation that is unmatched when it comes to meeting the critical needs of first responders,” Paglusch said, recalling that C Spire made extensive preparations and network investments in 2005 to withstand Hurricane Katrina, which caused significant destruction and loss of life in New Orleans and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
C Spire has continued to leverage its investment in critical broadband infrastructure in its response to the Louisville tornado in 2014 and, last summer, by providing critical high-capacity wireless broadband connections to emergency services personnel responding to the U.S. Marine Corps KC-130 aircraft crash in rural Leflore County.
For more information about Data Priority Service or voice Wireless Priority Service, contact a C Spire Business Solutions client account executive or the Assist for Business Support Center at 1.855.277.4732.