Disaster Relief: Supporting Vital Communication when Lives are at Stake

Staying connected is a part of modern life. When disaster strikes, keeping the lines of communication up and running can be a matter of life or death. EnerSys® telecoms customers understand this very well; their data centers, cell towers and fiber optic cables provide the lifelines that keep individuals, companies, governments, and individuals connected. They also ensure emergency services and first responders have the information they need to do their jobs.

Reliability and resilience in good times and bad is why telecoms providers partner with EnerSys for operational support and disaster relief. This partnership was on display in the immediate response to Hurricane Ida, which hit New Orleans and the surrounding area in late August of 2021. With emergency equipment and supplies strategically positioned in Alabama, within hours of the storm passing, an EnerSys crew headed to Houma, a city of 10,000 and one of the most badly hit locations.

As David Justice, EnerSys Senior Manager of Critical Facilities explains, “During an emergency, our job is to make sure our customers’ teams can get in and do their jobs. Our first order of business is to enable access. This means clearing trees and debris, pumping out water and otherwise enabling customers’people and equipment to get where they need to be so they can ensure vital communications services are up and running.”

Justice continued, “But Ida was not a one-day job. And Houma was completely dark. So, the next thing we did was identify a location that the team could use as a base, where their crew could sleep. Therefore, we focused on getting a local hotel up and running. This meant restoring power and other services – including HVAC. It was summer in Louisiana and the hotel was the only cool spot in the city. We ultimately had to keep this going for over a month as other services were restored. But what is clear now is that it would have been worse had the communications remained down. I am proud of my team and I am proud of our partnership with our major telecoms customers. Together, we saved lives.”