LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) As Harvey relief continues, and preparation for Hurricane Irma begin, one organization in our region has been helping in a way that many of us might overlook.
First Responders in Montgomery County, Texas who received Harris radios
The Harris Corporation, headquartered in Lynchburg, handles public safety communication for networks around the nation. When disaster strikes, they make sure first responders have the means to communicate with each other.
"When you think of emergency response, everybody just thinks it's going to work, right?” said Nino DiCosmo, President of Harris Corporation. “But there's a lot going into making it ‘just work’."
As flood waters encroached on Texas homes, first responders flocked in to help. Only one problem: How would they all communicate?
As the country was preparing food drives for victims, Harris Communications was sending radios.
“When you see the pictures of people carrying people out of danger zones. Those are all first responders. They run to disasters they need to be able to talk to each other,” said DiCosmo.
Justin Evans works as the Radio Systems Manager in Montgomery County, Texas and was on the receiving end of Harris radios during the disaster.
"We had to have people out there that didn't have a way to talk. If they wouldn’t’ve sent additional radios, additional batteries…we wouldn't have had a way to communicate,” said Evans.
Harris sent a mobile radio tower, hundreds of radios, and even software licenses to their cell phone app "Be-on". This allowed first responders to ping a radio from their cell phone, communicating and providing GPS coordinates.
“Critically important, right? Because it's not just about them being able to communicate, but also where they're located,” said DiCosmo.
And they are not done yet. As Hurricane Irma makes its way toward the US, they are already prepared to send extra radios.