This weekend, Hurricane Irene ravaged the entire East Coast, bringing loss and destruction along the way. It is estimated that around five million homes are still in the dark and it might take months to recover the electric power in many communities. Efforts are under way to pick up debris and make repairs to wind-damaged buildings and roofs.
President Barack Obama issued a state of emergency declaration for many parts of the battered coast, freeing federal disaster funds and tasking the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to coordinate the disaster relief efforts.
During challenging times like this, emergency communications is critical. The survivability of such equipment could make a difference between life and death. Talkaphone’s emergency communications equipment was put to a harsh test this weekend in the wake of Hurricane Irene.
In recent years, the Town of Oyster Bay, Long Island, has progressively installed Talkaphone’s emergency phones throughout the town’s recreational areas. This includes over 2000 acres of parks, beaches, golf courses, marinas, garages, community centers, train stations, municipal buildings and storage yards.
LPC Inc. of New York was commissioned to install and maintain the system, including emergency phone towers and wall mounts located on south shore beaches. In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, LPC was quick to respond to the maintenance call on the emergency phone system. The outcome of the service call was not as grim as expected.
“When the hurricane came, the tides were so great that they lifted the entire deck two feet,” said William Eggers of LPC. “We didn’t think any emergency communications equipment would survive. To our surprise, all Talkaphone’s analog phones were still functioning even after being completely submerged into water and beaten hard by the debris and wind!”
All south shore beaches and most north shore beaches remain closed for clean up operations and until the power can be completely restored. The Oyster Bay community is working hard to bring the town back from Irene’s devastation.
None of the emergency phone towers or wall mounts were affected by the hurricane, even as the water surge brought massive amounts of sand and debris, destroying weaker structures along the way. An important emergency lifeline was preserved and stood strong in the face of a hurricane.