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Frontier Communications Praised for Its Restoration Services during Last Summer's Wildfires Raged Across Central Washington

Date: 2014-12-08
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Emergency response was unprecedented

Frontier Communications was honored to receive praise from Brewster (WA)-based client U.S. Electrodynamics Inc., for emergency response efforts during the series of wildfires that raged across Central Washington this past summer.

U.S. Electrodynamics (USEI) operates a 100-acre, 54-antennae satellite Ground Station in the town of Brewster, providing critical communications to U.S. Government agencies in the continental U.S., as well as in the Pacific and Atlantic regions. These services are supported by high-tech infrastructure, transmitting mission-critical U.S. Defense Department communications, which accounts for over half the services at the USEI Brewster Ground Station.

The Carlton Complex fires in Central Washington, July 2014.
Photo: Washington National Guard / Flickr

According to USEI CEO Jim Veeder, the Ground Station faced one of its biggest challenges when the series of wildfires began to wreak havoc last July. On July 18, with the Carlton Complex fire still on the move, more than 20 miles of critical telecommunications fiber burned to the ground.

USEI lost all terrestrial (land-based) communication. The Okanogan County Public Utility District (PUD) estimated it would take several weeks before they would be able to restore communications. Knowing this, Frontier responded immediately to assist USEI, restoring communications within approximately 46 hours.

As a service provider that promises “Brewster never goes down” as part of its work with mission-critical U.S. Government customers, USEI was very humbled by the Carlton Complex Wildfire.  “We were in crisis recovery mode; we lost nearly all communications due to the raging 300,000-acre wildfire,” Veeder said. “For our U.S. Government customers, the situation was precarious at best. Thanks to Frontier, the situation dramatically improved as Frontier fully restored their services to USEI in less than 48 hours.”

“Frontier did not stop restoration efforts once their fiber infrastructure was operational. They continued to work hand in hand with USEI, Okanogan County PUD and Douglas County PUD to develop a restoration solution for the destroyed Okanogan County PUD fiber serving our facility and others,” Veeder added.  “The team effort on this was impressive and the outcome was total restoration of infrastructure strength in approximately four days, which was a great improvement over the initial assessment provided by Okanogan County PUD.”  

“As terrible of an experience as it was, it was wonderful to feel the power and dedication of our teams working together relentlessly and with deep passion,” Veeder said.

USEI was not the only organization adversely affected by the wildfires. Frontier and CenturyLink also restored services quickly to the Okanogan County 9-1-1, Ephrata 9-1-1, and Ferry County 9-1-1 through mutual collaboration and support.

“The partnership between Frontier and CenturyLink was unprecedented. It proved beneficial to both parties and – most importantly – to our customers,” said Frontier General Manager Steve Sandman.

In addition, Frontier provided emergency temporary services to the “hot shot” crews of firefighters battling the wildfires, including service to a temporary heliport at the Pangborn Airport in Wenatchee. 

“When a natural disaster or other crisis strikes, Frontier is prepared and ready to respond,” said Mike Towne, Frontier Vice President and General Manager for Eastern Washington/ Idaho/Montana. “We demonstrated our ability to respond earlier this year with the Oso and Darrington mudslides in Washington State, and more recently with the Wenatchee and Carlton Complex Wildfires.”

“We’re incredibly proud of our employees who, through their dedication to our customers, make this all possible, and we know our employees are honored to serve our communities — especially when they are in dire need,” Towne said.

More information is available at www.frontier.com 

- Corporate News/9-1-1magazine.com (via Frontier Communications, 12/4/14)

 

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