Nicole Emmett | email@example.com
The Huntsville Times
on November 30, 2012 at 2:14 PM, updated November 30, 2012 at 3:53 PM
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LONG ISLAND, New York — A Huntsville-based technology company is providing Hurricane Sandy victims with wireless internet access, laptops and telephones.
GATR Technologies, in coordination with Global DIRT (Disaster Immediate Response Team), deployed two portable 2.4m antennas in the Rockaways section of Long Island, NY. CISCO Systems, Inc. also assisted in the effort by loaning two emergency communication kits.
“Residents are still without power and everything is running off generators,”
GATR account executive Brian Douglass said. “Some days are better than
others, but there are warming tents for those that don’t have generators
in the house.”
The primary purpose of the antennas was to provide Wi-Fi access to the immediate area as well as supply an internet connection for laptops. The laptops, donated to Global DIRT, were to be used for filling out online FEMA forms/requests as well as insurance claims for affected residents. GATR donated use of the two antennas services and deployed them to separate locations in the Rockaways about two miles apart.
The first antenna was deployed on Nov. 14 at St. Francis De Sales Church, located at 129th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. The second antenna was deployed November 27 in a beach parking lot located at 94th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard.
Both antennas still maintain a live connection and are supplying services around the clock, Douglass said.
“Plenty of food has also been dropped off for volunteers and residents,”
Douglass said. “There are also tents with little stations for kids to
provide some kind of normalcy for those who have been affected.”
Disaster Response site #1 – St. Francis De Sales Church located at 129th Street and Rockaway Beach Blvd.
(Lat 40.5765, Lon -73.8477)
The antenna setup location was a church playground. Two large tents were set up for clothes donations and a warming and food line tent. The laptop center, consisting of 10 donated laptops, was established in the warming tent. Site #1 has been up and running for 16 days and has seen on average 200-250 people per day using the wireless internet connection and VoiP telephones. The phones are part of the CISCO ECK.
Disaster Response site #2 – Beach parking lot located at 94th Street and Rockaway Beach Blvd.
(Lat 40.58518, Lon -73.81654)
The antenna setup location was a beach parking lot which is now home to two main tents servicing hundreds of displaced residents. The services they provide are both shelter and warming tent with food, as well as providing supplies for residents to clean and maintain their properties. The laptop center consists of 6 donated laptops.
Site #2 has been up and running for two days and has seen so far an average of about 100 people per day using the wireless internet connection. It is set up to run wireless only at this time. The site lead notified Global DIRT that the power would be changing as well as locations for wire runs etc. Once these changes are made the Cisco ECK kit will be moved to a more permanent location where more functionality can be used. Once the permanent location is established the VoiP telephones will be integrated and put to use.
“Most of their homes are liveable. They’re still there,” Douglass said, adding that the damage has been flooding.
Douglass said he visited the southwestern tip of th island and saw the damage for himself.
“Everybody’s front yard look like it was covered in snow but it was sand,” he said.
GATR Technologies provided support to several rescue operations after tornadoes hit the Huntsville area in 2011. They deployed 11 antennas throughout North Alabama.