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    Federal agencies conduct radio system restoration in Puerto Rico

    Federal agencies conduct radio system restoration in Puerto Rico

    Photo By Pfc. Christina Westfall | Federal employees working for the U.S. Secret Service, Department of Homeland...... read more read more



    Story by Pfc. Christina Westfall 

    24th Press Camp Headquarters

    El Yunque National Rainforest, Puerto Rico – A multi-agency team, consisting of members from the U.S. Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, Immigration Customs Enforcement, and the New York Fire Department working with FEMA conducted an operation to restore and extend the area of radio coverage, October 8, 2017 at the El Yunque National Rainforest, Puerto Rico.

    The radio system restoration is used to restore fire and emergency dispatch services. The areas of coverage are expanded to provide wide-area radio coverage from hand held radios of emergency units across the island back to the convention center to ensure communication with personnel while they’re providing emergency services.

    “We’re still working on the response phase of the overall event,” said Dustin Ventresca, a telecommunications specialist with the Secret Service. “When we first arrived, there was no communication. Now we’re getting the fastest communications we can to work. Eventually we will reach the recovery phase where we add more systems into these locations.”

    The team installed two repeaters and two antennas at El Yuenque National Rainforest. FEMA has four more sites that need repaired, but installing the equipment may take multiple days depending on location.

    “Because the sites are predominately on top of mountains, the biggest issue is navigation because many of them are blocked off with trees or land slides,” said Ventresca.

    By enhancing communications and completing assessments, it provides a clearer picture of the extent of damage, allowing the federal response to better focus relief efforts.

    “The goal is to have antennas and cable wires professionally installed by the companies that own the towers and the facilities and then we’ll expand those networks,” said Ventresca. “So then instead of having a radio range of one to three miles, we can have coverage across the island.”

    “Other teams are working on cellular and internet capabilities, but our focus is on the emergency dispatch services and getting more systems online, and then going back to refine those systems for longer term use,” said Ventresca.

    These agencies are prepared for the future and with time are fully capable of providing the island with increased communication capabilities.



    Date Taken: 10.08.2017
    Date Posted: 10.09.2017 14:35
    Story ID: 251013

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