Disasters like Hurricane Harvey push communication systems to their limits and often beyond. Between exceptionally high demand and issues like damaged cell towers and flooded landlines, people in trouble may not be able to contact the emergency services they desperately need. While amateur radio operators are hard at work supplementing the crippled networks, another, unexpected network is proving useful: OnStar.
Automotive News reports the various ways that GM’s location and emergency communication service is helping customers in the Houston area keep in touch when all else fails. With local Red Cross call centers overwhelmed with calls for help, they asked OnStar to assist. OnStar’s four North American call centers are located in Michigan, North Carolina, Ontario, and Nova Scotia—far outside Harvey’s reach and unaffected by the storm. It is also already equipped and trained for these types of calls, so OnStar is a natural choice to help. But it is not strictly providing OnStar services to Red Cross overflow calls; OnStar is integrating with the Red Cross as closely as possible to get callers the services they need, regardless of who provides them.
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