By Edward Parkinson, CEO First Responder Network Authority
Soon after the planes hit the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001, Brad Morrell deployed from Utah to New York City as part of an urban search and rescue team.
Aboard the military airlift transporting rescuers, Brad remembers seeing otherwise empty skies except for the fighter jets escorting their plane. When they got to the fallen towers, the scene was unlike anything else he and his teammates had experienced.
In the initial days, cell service was non-existent, land-mobile radios were down, and repeaters to boost signals weren’t working. The only communications available to Brad and his team were two-way pagers they brought from Utah.
“We knew that comms was an issue. For the first few days, we couldn’t talk from Ground Zero back to our base of operations,” said Brad who now serves as the FirstNet Authority’s Director of Network and Technology Operations.