Wildfire Update — Maui Sues Cellphone Carriers

One of the biggest problems that led to the deaths of 97 people on Maui last year was the failure of the island’s cellphone system. When the fires broke out, Maui County sent out fire warnings to cellphones. Those warnings never arrived.

And the county didn’t know.

Had the county have known the messages weren’t being received other methods of contact could have been used. So, Maui County officials have filed a lawsuit against Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA, Spectrum Mobile and AT&T.

“On August 8 and August 9, 2023, while the County’s courageous first responders battled fires across the island and worked to provide first aid and evacuate individuals to safety, the County notified those in the vicinity of danger through numerous alerts and warnings, including through direct text messaging to individual cell phones,” the lawsuit said.

In the lawsuit, the officials noted that 14 alerts were sent to warn residents, and many were not received because all 21 towers on the island had failed. They claim the carriers should have informed the police that their service was interrupted.

“As of the date of this filing, the Cell Carriers still have not reported to the County the true extent and reach of the cell service outages on August 8 and August 9, 2023, as they are mandated to do under federal law,” the lawsuit said. “Had the Cell Carriers accurately reported to the County the complete and widespread failure of dozens of cell sites across the island as they were mandated to do by law, the County would have utilized different methods in its disaster and warning response.”

Critics contend the county isn’t exactly blameless. Officials on Maui failed to activate sirens that would have warned people that they were in danger and to evacuate.

Source link: Insurance Journal — https://bit.ly/3wrO2IW

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