Cellular Outages Hamper Puerto Rico and Virgin Island Response

Tim Karney on October 30, 2017, 11:00 am

Majority of Islands Still Without Cell Service a Month After Hurricane Maria

When Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in September it caused massive devastation to both power and cellular infrastructure on the island.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC has been publishing an ongoing eriesof Communications Status Reports that detailthe disruptions to cellular networks and other communications assets.

The following table shows single day "snapshots" of these cellular outages in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Date Cell Sites Served Cell Sites Out Percent Out
9/23/17 1,895 1,781 90.2%
10/23/17 2,769 1,817 66%



(Not all cell towers were reported on the report dated September 23. More complete damage assessments were available for the report dated October 23 which accounts for the differences in the number of cell towers reported.)

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Recent Storms Cause Massive Disruptions to Communications Infrastructure

Tim Karney on September 28, 2017, 1:00 am

Alarming Statistics on Cellular Outages from Harvey, Irma, and Maria

The recent spate of hurricanes and tropical storms have caused massive damage and significant loss of lives. While the damage is still being assessed and response efforts are ongoing, one clear indication of the impact of these storms is the disruptions they have caused to communications infrastructure.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been publishing an ongoing series of Communications Status Reports that detail the disruptions to cellular networks and other communications assets.

The following table shows single day “snapshots” of these cellular outages in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.













Puerto Rico & VI












Puerto Rico & VI






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Floods and High Winds Impact Choctaw Nation

Tim Karney on June 22, 2017, 6:00 am

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Responds to Two Significant Events

On April 30, 2017, a major storm system slammed into parts of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, causing substantial flash flooding that devastated much of the downtown area of Kinta, Oklahoma. Kin

ta is a small town with about 300 inhabitants. The flooding damaged several businesses and 20 residences in a very short period of time.

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Reducing Satellite Data Costs in Wildfire Response

Tim Karney on April 18, 2017, 8:59 am

Pickens County, SC Replaced Satellite Communications with a Plum Case®.

Major wildfires provide unique challenges to emergency responders. They usually occur in difficult terrain where they are often poorly served by communications infrastructure. Such was the case for Pickens County Emergency Management when they were called out to a report of a fire in an extremely remote area.

Pickens County, South Carolina is located near the northern border of the state. It is in the Greenville, Clemson area. It has a population of about 120,000 and covers 512 square miles.

On November 9th, a campfire got out of control in the Pinnacle Mountain, Table Rock area. Responders had to hike several hours into the woods to reach the scene. Conditions were very dry and the fire spread rapidly. 

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Maintaining Connectivity During Alabama Wildfires and Tornadoes

Tim Karney on February 28, 2017, 7:00 am

Plum Case® Extended Deployed by Alabama EMA.

In October and November 2016, the drought in Alabama and Georgia was so severe that it created the perfect conditions for massive wildfires.  A large wildfire broke out in the Lookout Mountain area and across Northeast Alabama. Over 1,000 acres of forest burned. It took over two weeks to bring the wildfire under control in Alabama.

During this incident, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA), deployed a Plum Case® Extended to provide essential connectivity to the responders in the area. Ricky Little, Division Coordinator of Alabama EMA explained how the Plum Case® Extended was utilized.

“We had one of our mobile command trailers that contains our communication gear and computers.  We have UHF and VHF, 700 and 800mghz radios, amateur radios, and a workstation for a laptop and printer as well as an aircraft radio. We were having very poor reception in the area and sometimes no signal at all. This was a problem since we were running our state-wide computer tracking system over the internet. The State of Alabama Forestry Commission was also having very limited connections.  

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Lost in the Flood

Tim Karney on February 10, 2017, 4:39 am

Nichols, South Carolina Without Communications for Five Days After Hurricane Matthew

Imagine you are responsible for the lives and safety of your community.

A hurricane slams into your town and flood waters rise until virtually everything is under water.

Now imagine you have no communications to organize the rescue and recovery efforts.

That’s the situation that faced Mayor Lawson Battle of Nichols, South Carolina when Hurricane Matthews hit their community hard. 

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Plum Case® Extended Tested During BigX 2016 in Texas

Tim Karney on February 9, 2017, 4:39 am

‚ÄčEverything Is bigger in Texas.

That includes regional training exercises.

Recently the North Central Texas Council of Governments, (NCTCOG), conducted Big X 2016, a 16 county training exercise that involved:

  • Over 3,500 participants
  • 11 Disciplines
  • 40 Venues

The exercise was held from November 13th through the 16th. During the exercise, Joshua Roberts, the Emergency Manager for the City of Lewisville Texas, took the opportunity to field test a Plum Case® Extended connectivity device.

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How Do Super Heroes Stay Connected?

Tim Karney on February 8, 2017, 4:40 am

105th Squad of Cosplayers Uses Plum Case® Extended Remote Access Device

You’d think that Super Heroes could use their special powers to communicate with each other.

But the 105th Squad, a charitable organization that links over 1,200 member cosplayers to share their enthusiasm and talents uses a Plum Case® Extended. It is a portable, self-contained, self-powered, remote access cellular device which provides high-speed data and voice communications for a wide variety of events.


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Introducing the Plum Case® Pak

Tim Karney on February 7, 2017, 4:40 am

Portable, Hands Free, Remote Internet Access

While all our Plum Cases® (U.S. Patent 96802008)  are lightweight and easy to carry, there are times when you want both hands free for the task at hand.

It could be fighting a wildfire, taking environmental samples or measurements, or hanging off the skid of a helicopter.

Plum Laboratories has just introduced the Plum Case® Pak,  which puts the remote access capabilities of our in-case solutions in a hands-free form factor. 


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