On September 9, 2013, the area spanning from Colorado Springs north to Fort Collins was hit with heavy rain and catastrophic flooding. The situation continued to intensify over the following days and the area received more rain than in normally receives in an entire year. As a result of the flooding, 8 people lost their lives and 11,000 people were evacuated. In addition, at least 19,000 homes were damaged and over 1,500 were destroyed. The floods knocked out many of the area’s telecommunications systems and the Colorado Department of Transportation estimated that at least 30 state highway bridges were destroyed, with an additional 20 seriously damaged.
Disaster Tech Lab assembled rotating teams of IT and telecommunications engineers who carried out damage assessments, signal and service surveys, and established internet access and IP-based communications for other responding organizations, disaster response centers and for the local population. Teams used a mix of Wi-Fi networks, VSAT capabilities, and solar power to build ad-hoc, resilient networks for the recovering community.
Thanks to the generosity of Aer Lingus and JetBlue, AIRLINK was able to help send Disaster Tech Lab’s team leader to assist in providing internet access to devastated communities in Colorado.