In March of 2014, a devastating mudslide occurred in the Washington region of Oso, destroying a riverside neighborhood. This disaster leveled homes, blocked off roadways for months, displaced families and destroyed the community’s ability to communicate with the outside world. The mudslide toppled utility poles and snapped wires, which left thousands of residents and Frontier customers without landlines for phones, Internet or 911 calls.
One year later, we take a moment to reflect on the mudslide and the impact of this event on the communities we serve. At Frontier, we are committed to being active contributors in our service areas. When this devastating disaster struck, we took immediate action to restore communication to our customers.
Working alongside first responders, the Frontier team was able to restore hardline Internet and phone services to most of our customers within five hours, allowing those effected to call emergency services and reach their families. To achieve this, 15 Frontier employees hand-pulled and spliced more than 14,000 feet of fiber cable to reconnect Darrington and Arlington to the outside world. Restoring communication was more important than the placement of the wire, so workers pulled the cable through blackberry bushes, into ravines and up hillsides.
The temporary fiber remained positioned this way until March 5 of this year, when the final splicing of the permanent fiber optic cable occurred. Frontier splicer Andrea Stinardo guided Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert and Darrington Mayor Dan Rankin through the process of completing the final cable splice, restoring permanent connections between their two towns. This celebration marked a huge milestone in the ongoing recovery of these communities.
Here at Frontier, we always want our customers, employees and their families to be prepared for emergencies. Therefore, we encourage all families and communities to review their own plans for emergency response and preparedness, as well as visit ready.gov for more information on how to prepare for unexpected disasters.