The Puerto Rico Hurricane Hub announced an investment of more than $71,000 in the Bureau for Emergency and Disaster Management to buy and install KP4 radios, antennas and solar panels in the government agency’s headquarters and its 10 regions throughout the island, including Vieques and Culebra.
The goal of this initiative is to keep Puerto Rico communicated through all areas of this first response agency, to respond quickly to any emergency, according to officials at the Hurricane Hub, which is a program of the Puerto Rico Public Health Trust, both integrated to the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust.
“We know that communication is vital in the event of a disaster and this equipment will serve to connect people and save lives,” said Leslie Maas-Cortes, director of the Puerto Rico Hurricane Hub.
The radios, popularly known as KP4, provide an alternate communication infrastructure that supports the current communication system. This type of communication has been proven to be a reliable communication method that prevails in an emergency.
Emergency Management Bureau Chief Nino Correa said “this communication system interconnected with all the emergency management zones will be very useful to maximize our work and will allow us to be more agile and precise when it comes to determining the personnel and resources for each situation or event that we have to attend.”
Currently, there are close to 5,000 licensed amateur radio members in Puerto Rico, although about 2,000 are active. All users must be certified by the Federal Communications Commission. The mission of the radio amateurs is to help in emergency situations such as atmospheric events or cyber-attacks.
The equipment provided and installed by Puerto Rican company Skytec Inc. will allow creating a network of additional collaborators among all the radio amateurs that will maximize the capacity of communication and infrastructure resilient to a disaster.
It was completed to be available in this hurricane season that extends through Nov. 30.