Emergency Communications
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Communication has been one of the biggest issues since the derailment earlier this week. The area where the fire broke out has little to no cell phone service. Emergency officials say that wasn't really a problem for them. At the command post, about seven miles south of the town of Hyndman cell service is not a problem. At the scene where the derailment happened, that's a different story. As Hyndman residents were pulled from their homes, many were unable to get in touch with loved ones. Local news reporters had a difficult time relaying information on the newsrooms and the public due to poor reception. There is virtually no cell phone service but emergency responders were able to stay organized and communicate during their response. How? Pennsylvania has such a diverse geography that the state's Emergency Management Agency is prepared for rural areas like Hyndman. Using satellites and other advanced technology communication lines were established. "Obviously, we bring our satellite trucks. We bring our satellite trailers in. We immediately get communications. We have an 800 mega hertz system. Even though from an emergency management perspective, the cell phone system was down, there was no hiccups from that perspective because we have back ups." Officials say once they're able to get information from the scene, they can then pass it along top the victims and the public.