Companies Working To Reconnect Wildfire Victims With Rest Of World

SANTA ROSA (CBS13) – Providers of phone and internet service have been working non-stop over the last few days trying to restore communication in Napa and Sonoma counties as those deadly wildfires continue to rage.

Thousands of people still don’t have access to cellular service and have not been able to get in contact with loved ones.

Homeowner, Ruben Rios has spent the last few days trying to get a hold of his loved ones during the devastating wildfire that has already destroyed his home.

“No one has landlines anymore, I didn’t have one so they couldn’t ring my phone and tell me you need to get out. It wasn’t until I smelled the smoke and heard the noise,” said Rios.

Many people in northern California have already lost so much including the ability to connect with emergency personnel and loved ones over the phone.  Companies like, Verizon Wireless has been working long hours to help restore the communication.

“It’s number one priority, across from our employees, our customers, we have taken action to ensure that we are responding to the community and making sure they have mobile communication to be able to reach out to those to let them know they are safe,” said Nick Rego, district manager, Verizon Wireless.

Verizon is supporting first responders and government officials with recovery efforts.  For some impacted sites, crews have utilized temporary microwave technology to provide connectivity to the network.

“National crisis response teams as well as our network team brings out cell on wheels, which are referred to as cows in terms of a mobile support for cell sites in devastating coverage,” said Rego.

Disaster response teams have also set up trailers that give people internet access, laptop computers and a wireless charging station.

“In the time of need, you got to be able to reach out to loved ones, friends, family to let them know not only how you are, but also how they are doing,” said Kaoleb Dosch, general manager, Verizon Wireless.

Until October 15th, the company is offering some data relief for customers impacted by the fire by providing free data.

“Our team, we’re really proud to have them come in and help out the community,” said Dosch.

The team is continuing to refuel generators at cell sites to keep them running until commercial power can be restored.

Verizon isn’t the only company helping to restore communication, other service providers are also working as well.

Sent from my iPhone

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