About

In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, two former Marines noticed a disturbing problem: Emergency disaster relief was dangerously slow, leaving survivors without critical resources like water and medical care. Assembling a small team of veterans, they deployed to Haiti and provided critical aid to thousands of survivors. Team Rubicon was born.

In the 10 years since, Team Rubicon has united the skills and experience of military veterans together with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams, free of charge, to communities affected by disasters. Team Rubicon currently maintains a roster of 110,000+ volunteers ready to offer vital assistance throughout the world at a moment’s notice.

As a satellite professional, I’ve always known how critical satcom is for effective disaster recovery efforts. I became directly involved with Team Rubicon when Hurricane Florence threatened my hometown, New Bern, NC. It was my chance to hit the front lines again and give back to my own community, supported by the paid community service hours policy of my employer Intelsat General.

Customer Challenge

Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm.  Devastation to critical transportation infrastructure, government facilities and terrestrial communications services hobbled response efforts. Communications support for deployed medical and disaster response teams in the Bahamas were severely interrupted, if not completely destroyed. To provide relief and save lives, Team Rubicon needed to immediately coordinate medical care, logistics and personnel movement between mainland U.S. and the Bahamas.

How We Helped

Within 24 hours, Intelsat enabled communications systems essential to the massive support effort, including satellite connectivity from Marsh Harbor on Grand Abaco Island, one of the hardest-hit areas of the Bahamas. The first step was partnering with GATR Technologies and DIRT to configure and deploy terminals to a staging point in Florida in preparation for transport to Abaco Island. With those terminals in place and our FlexGround managed service, the teams on the ground had immediate access to satcom connectivity. The end result was reliable Wi-Fi that helped keep Team Rubicon’s emergency response teams on the ground safe, efficient and connected in an otherwise chaotic situation.

Results

  • Pre-deployment testing and support of Disaster Recovery systems, FlexGround satellite connectivity and remote support to Team Rubicon Forward Operations Basecamps ensured reliable connectivity in relief areas.
  • Using services provided by Intelsat General and partners, Team Rubicon volunteers established communications with U.S. mainland to coordinate relief effort both internally and with other disaster relief agencies.
  • High-throughput Intelsat Epic satellites provided significant improvement and cost savings in communications over the previously used SatPhones.
  • By providing communications for a GlobalDIRT truck as it delivered technical assistance to those impacted by the hurricane, Intelsat gave survivors an essential link to displaced friends and family when they needed it most.