Our customers share their stories from the front lines
Hurricane Harvey in Texas: Radios Keep Responders Connected – and Hold Up Underwater
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the Houston Police Department’s dive team executed hundreds of water rescues in both swift and high water. Mission-critical radios are the communications lifeline during such incidents, when seconds count and coordination is critical.
During one water rescue, Capt. L. J. (Larry) Baimbridge said his Motorola Solutions APX 7000 mission-critical radio fell out of the pouch of his life jacket, although he didn’t realize it for several minutes.
“After a couple of minutes, I located it,” he said. “It was submerged in over five feet of water for at least four minutes, and I assumed it was gone. To my – and everyone else’s – surprise, it worked just fine.”
Hurricane Harvey in Texas: Days in the Mud Is No Problem for Mission-Critical Radio
In another incident following Hurricane Harvey, the Huntsville, Texas, fire department was working a water rescue. One team member lost his Motorola Solutions APX 7000XE radio to the racing water and presumed it was lost as the area stayed flooded for days.
“They were finally able to go out and search for it,” recalls Thomas Gilbert, who manages the radio system for the Brazos Valley, Texas, Wide Area Communications System. ”They located it partially buried in mud, dug it out, and put a charged battery on it. It works fine. We figure that it was submerged for the better part of a week.”
These results are not typical. The generally expected product performance is based on 2 meters of water submersion for 2 continous hours.
Hurricane Irma in Florida: Push-to-Talk Radios and Backup Generators Deliver Always-On Communications
The Lake County Sheriff's Department depended on Motorola Solutions radios – and took advantage of backup generators – to stay connected before, during and after the storm.
“There was a 228 percent increase in push-to-talk communications between county and local police from the day before Irma hit to the day of the hurricane,” said Greg Holcomb, director of public safety communications technologies for the county. Push-to-talk on Lake County’s Motorola Solutions radio system connects users in less than one second, which can mean the difference between life and death for first responders.
“In that time, there were no sites down, no outages and all LMR communications worked flawlessly,” he said.
Following the storm, the radio systems’ 18 network sites were powered by backup generators, some of which ran nonstop for six days to keep the communications network operating seamlessly.
"Our officers were working in flood-prone areas, and in those areas, LMR was the only communication working,” Holcomb said.
See our convoy travel to Florida to deliver generators and other equipment to support our customers’ LMR systems after Hurricane Irma.
Hurricane Irma in Florida: “CPR on the Phone” and a Baby Delivered Safely
Meanwhile, first responders in Pinellas County, Florida, counted on their Motorola Solutions radio system -- which includes data-sharing capabilities -- to stay connected during Irma.
Once the storm winds reached 40 miles per hour, dispatchers could no longer send first responders to help citizens. They were handling a high call volume, performing “CPR on the phone” with doctors in their call center. Responders never had a single transmission drop.
In nearby Coral Springs, Florida, a pregnant woman went into labor during the storm and called 911 for help. First responders took an armored vehicle to navigate the storm damage and their Motorola Solutions radios to help with the delivery, which ended safety for the baby girl and mother. A county official said the “radios were crystal-clear” during the incident.