Superstorm Sandy devastated the East Coast. In hard-hit Hoboken, N.J. — a 1-square-mile city across from Manhattan, N.Y., with about 50,000 residents — water flooded fire stations and power outages shut down communications, said Richard Blohm, chief of the Hoboken Fire Department. Even days after the storm, power outages continued to interrupt both public-safety and cellular communications, Blohm said.

So, the Hoboken Fire Department contacted Verizon and requested a Wireless Emergency Communication Center. The WECC is a generator-powered mobile unit that has a device charger and computer workstations, wireless phones, tablets and other devices so people can communicate over the 4G LTE network.

Blohm said only one landline was functional at the city’s emergency operations center. So Verizon also used voice over IP (VOIP) and added five additional lines in the WECC — one for the National Guard, one for EMS and the other three for CERT members who were answering questions from powerless citizens.

Read the entire story in FIRE CHIEF, our sister publication.