Sprint Provides Cellular and GPS Services to FEMA for its Nationwide Vehicle Tracking Program
Nextel handsets equipped with TeleNav Track GPS services offer FEMA ease of deployment and cost reductions for their emergency communications.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is relying on Sprint to provide 2,000 Nextel handsets in support of FEMA’s nationwide vehicle tracking system. As part of an agreement signed earlier this year, Sprint is providing handsets equipped with industry-leading Nextel Direct Connect and TeleNav Track, a cell phone-based GPS navigation and tracking service. This powerful combination of technologies allows the agency do its job efficiently during an emergency by supporting quick deployment and effective management of its critical resources. The ability to set up anywhere and at any time is crucial for FEMA, especially when the agency is called upon to provide disaster support.

Several hundred of the 2,000 Motorola i365 phones are being used by FEMA employees and the rest are on standby and staged throughout the country, ready to deploy in case of an emergency. For example, units have been staged in the Gulf Coast region throughout the hurricane season. All phones are prepackaged in a FEMA kit - a rugged pelican case that includes the handset, a car charger, a wall charger, a splitter and two batteries.

In addition to the devices, the Sprint solution also includes integration and project management services to ensure that the agency met its deadlines for setting up the vehicle tracking program before the hurricane season. After receiving the initial request, Sprint and TeleNav rapidly set up the entire program, including device configuration and testing.

“Interoperable communications and emergency preparedness have always been top priorities for Sprint, especially in wake of some of the recent natural and man-made disasters. Whether it’s the reliability of our network or support from the Sprint Emergency Response Team (ERT), we have always been ahead of our competition in supporting our customers including the federal agencies tasked with disaster preparedness and recovery,” said Bill White, vice president, Federal Programs at Sprint. “We take pride in serving FEMA with our voice and data services powered by Sprint’s Now Network™.”

While Nextel Direct Connect allows instant and seamless communication among FEMA personnel and interoperable communications with first responder and law enforcement agencies, TeleNav Track allows FEMA to monitor in near real-time the location of its mission-critical resources, including ambulances, buses and trucks. With geo-fencing, authorized FEMA personnel can also receive alerts if a tracked unit travels outside or inside a defined geographic boundary. A key enabler of this solution is the rugged Motorola i365 handset with an embedded GPS location system and advanced operating system. The Motorola operating system includes features which automatically run the TeleNav Track application in the background on power-up, eliminating the need for any user interaction and preventing unauthorized changes to the application.
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