The severe flooding in parts of Harris County that are outside of the 500-year flood plain—the main thoroughfare likely will not be cleared for use until this week—likely will cause officials to reassess disaster-preparation plans, Lin said.

“In our internal conversations, the question is always asked, ‘Well, why did this site flood?’” Lin said. “The thing is that this flood event is so huge that places were flooding in town where nobody has ever seen flood water. Things that were unimaginable last week [have occurred].

“Some of the things we used to think. ‘Well, this probably wouldn’t happen, so let’s table the conversation,’ now, we’re rethinking how we evaluate risk. Because, in the last three years—including this year—we’ve had three major floods, and each one has been worse than the previous one. Things that would have been off the table in the past, I think we would no longer consider them off the table.

“That includes the way that we outfit our vehicles. We’ve talked about in the past that maybe we should raise our trucks, but it’s always like, ‘Why do we need to raise our trucks? They’re already really big trucks.’ But we did raise one of our trucks in the middle of the event, because the water was really high. Thankfully, because we did that, we were able to hit some sites that I don’t think we would have been able to, if we didn’t raise the trucks.”

In addition, the potential for such site outages may cause public-safety network operators to consider adding more sites to their networks in an effort to ensure communications availability, Lin said.

“If we can build more saturation of sites, then I think that—if we lose one here or there—we might lose some capacity, but we’ll still have coverage,” Lin said. “Traditionally, on the LTE side, that’s one of the mechanisms [to provide reliability]. You have a lot of sites, so—if you lose one or two—[the coverage] gets picked up by another site and you might lose some performance.

“I think, on the LMR side, being that cost is a factor—the per-site cost is much higher—but I do think that should be one of the strategies to be considered. Because, if we have overlapping simulcast coverages and we lose a simulcast, we may lose some capacity, but at least we’ll have coverage. I think that’s something we have to think about for these types of events going forward.”