Preparing for disaster: Phone outage tests emergency workers
And officials in Santa Clara and Monterey counties are praising ham radio operators not only for their quick response, but also for coming through when state-of-the-art technology failed. Amateur radio operators, armed with their antennaed boxes - the true wireless - became the eyes and ears of police and fire on the streets.
They were able to communicate with police and firefighters, who were using their own two-way radios.
Where are the citizens going to go in an emergency when the telephone system doesn't work? Town hall, fire halls, hospitals or similar sites. So that's where the amateurs would be. In the above story near a school. In other areas amateurs provided communications to neighbouring municipalities.
BTW I suspect a number of the radio systems the emergency services [use] depend on fibre or other telco connections between the various radio repeater sites around the city. I wonder if they were sitll working.
Amateur radio is very much into new technologies. For example, Winlink2000