Municipal Wi-Fi’s emergency response

Published: August 10th, 2007

We all watched dumbstruck the news footage of the collapse of a bridge spanning the Mississippi River in Minneapolis earlier this month. What we didn’t know was the developing story of how the municipality’s just-started Wi-Fi infrastructure played a role in the emergency response.

The network was only about a quarter finished at the time of the collapse. The CEO of network vendor USI Wireless, Joe Caldwell, called the city to offer help, but couldn’t get through over an overwhelmed cellular network. Caldwell opened up the network to free use, and sent crews out to install hot spots and wireless cameras in the areas around the bridge that weren’t already covered.

Craig Settles, municipal Wi-Fi expert and author of Fighting the Good Fight for Municipal Wireless, recounts that story and offers some of the keys to a municipal wireless strategy for emergency response in this week’s IT Business Out Loud podcast. He’s also interviewed Minneapolis CIO Lynn Willenbring about the lessons learned.

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