September 12, 2019 - 2:20 pm
By Lisa M. Fowlkes | Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

Recently I traveled to Northern California to meet with public safety officials about a range of emergency communications topics. It was helpful to hear firsthand from these dedicated emergency managers about what’s working and where challenges remain. Needless to say, our conversation focused largely on the threats posed by wildfires and earthquakes, including how communications services are vital to protecting the public during such disasters. 

One topic with regard to wildfires is that California energy providers have announced plans to potentially shut off power at times and in areas where the wildfire risk is high. Wireless providers must be prepared for this scenario. Today I sent letters to the nation’s largest wireless providers asking what steps they are taking to help keep wireless service available for public safety officials and residents if power shutdowns occur, and what steps they are taking more generally to maintain service in the event of wildfires.

There are also actions that consumers can take to help maintain communications service when disaster strikes. I urge you to read our tips, which include advice on preparing for power outages and staying connected during an emergency.  

Wildfires are a threat in many parts of the country.  As always, we must hope for the best while taking action to protect our communities should emergency strike.

 

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