FEMA weathered Ike with SkyPort

As Hurricane Ike devastated the Gulf Coast region of Texas last weekend, SkyPort Global Communications' Network Operations Center kept the lines of communication open for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Guard units from Texas and Florida, and other first responders.

The company's facilities in Houston are being used as a staging area for communications equipment and Cisco Systems' Network Emergency Response Vehicles. The Texas National Guard, the Florida National Guard and FEMA continue to rely on the technology for mission-critical communications in the aftermath of the storm.

In addition, Mobile Communication Systems is on standby to deploy emergency communications systems to FEMA and other government agencies to aid in the relief efforts.

SkyPort officials said the hurricane passed directly over the company's Network Operations Center and teleport at the Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Texas. The center is designed to withstand a Category 3 hurricane and is located on the highest ground in Houston to prevent damage from flooding and storm surges. At the peak of the storm, the center recorded sustained winds of 61 mph with gusts of up to 93 mph, according to company officials.

SkyPort seamlessly switched to backup power systems for more than 40 hours during power outages caused by the hurricane, company officials said.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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