In times of crisis, effective communication is not just a convenience; it’s a lifeline. On July 25th, 2023, NoaNet had the opportunity to support the Region 10 FEMA Response team and facilitate the deployment of emergency communications.
The urgency was real—400 firefighters battling a wildfire near the remote town of Bickelton in Klickitat County had limited communication options, a lack of broadband facilities, and poor or no cellular coverage in the area.
NoaNet’s leadership and engineering teams went to work immediately to devise a solution that would facilitate the essential first responder communications needed.
With NoaNet’s 23 years of engagement in the Washington Public Benefit telecommunications space, and relationships with service providers and organizations statewide, the response was swift and strategic. Through a partnership with Startouch, a local service provider serving in Klickitat County, a solution was soon devised. By leveraging Startouch’s existing coverage nearby the area, NoaNet orchestrated emergency provisioning of service to extend the reach of communications services to the Bickelton fire base camp.
NoaNet worked hand in hand with Startouch, aligning efforts to ensure a rapid and seamless provision of service. Local contacts were engaged, buildings were accessed, and the groundwork was laid to bridge the communications dead zone. Within four hours of the initial request for help by ITDRC, NoaNet and Startouch succeeded in provisioning a GigE connection at the camp location.
This rapid response was the means by which these brave men and women could coordinate their efforts, share vital information, and contact family and friends while combatting a large and complex fire. In the face of difficult circumstances, NoaNet’s relationships, expertise, and quick thinking leveraged technology to support the Response Team and help to keep our communities’ heroes safer while doing their dangerous work.
NoaNet was able to support further in a separate Klickitat County request when incumbent cable lines were damaged in a nearby blaze, preventing citizens from being able to contact their Klickitat County 911 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). To maintain this community’s access to call 911 services, NoaNet provisioned Voice over IP (VoIP) phones and handsets and procured data transport and backhaul to support communications connectivity.
These incidents serve as powerful reminders of the profound influence that technology, collaboration, and swift action can wield in moments of crisis. NoaNet’s ability to coordinate with public and private organizations and deliver emergency communications services and technologies in a matter of hours showcases the power of partnerships and relationships and how rapid support organizations like NoaNet and our local and regional service providers can deliver when communities are most in need.
As we reflect on these events, we’re reminded that while technology might be a tool, its impact is deeply human.
In the heart of a crisis, a single connection can mean the difference between chaos and control, uncertainty and informed decision-making, and continued access to 911 services when you need them most. When every moment counts, NoaNet is thrilled to be in a position to support emergency communications—ultimately safeguarding our communities and the heroes who put their lives on the line to keep us safe.