Comdial's Premiere Dealer, Communications
Specialty, Helps with Houston Recovery Effort
Tropical Storm Allison Flooded Houston's Criminal Justice Center, Comdial Equipment and Support Restored Vital Government Communications
Sarasota, Florida - Dec 4, 2001 - Comdial Corporation (Nasdaq:CMDL - news) announces the successful completion of a four-month recovery effort to restore Harris County's communications system following the devastation from Tropical Storm Allison. Communications Specialty, a Houston-based Comdial dealer, spent months working closely with Harris County CTC department as buildings were evacuated and temporary facilities created. In all, they had to relocate or reinstall the entire 20-floor Criminal Justice Center, the 13-floor Sheriff Department and Jail, the 9-floor Administration Department, 16-floor Jury Assembly, 9-floor Court House, 7-floor Family Law, and all tunnels linking the entire campus of Harris County.
When Tropical Storm Allison struck Texas on June 8th, 2001, flood waters enveloped downtown Houston. This forced evacuation of many of Harris County's government buildings, including the newly erected Criminal Justice Center. The locally based Communications Specialty company had installed the communications network for the 20-floor building in January 2000. Over 3,000 telephones and 27 Comdial DXP phone systems were housed in the Criminal Justice Center. With the evacuation of the building, the network had to be immediately relocated to keep vital phone service functioning.
The main equipment room was in the basement of the Criminal Justice Center, which was under water. Gene Cole of Communications Specialty said: ``Everywhere I looked, it was just a surge of water, like something out of a disaster movie. The jail was flooded, the Justice Center, the Family Courts building, as were all the tunnels that linked the buildings together. I'm six feet tall, and the water was two feet over my head.''
To handle immediate needs, a Comdial DXP with 30 phone lines was installed in a building outside the flood area. This established a center for officials to use when they arrived for work on Monday. While power was still out, personnel entered the flooded Justice Center with battery-powered backup systems to power-up 26 of the network's 27 Comdial DXP phone systems to do complete system backups, assuring that the most up-to-date information was recovered. The 27th machine had to be abandoned, since it was under eight feet of water.
Over the next several months, Communications Specialty installed Comdial phone systems in many temporary government locations throughout Houston. Often the land-lines were not functioning because of storm damage, so a system was set up to carry phone traffic by microwave signals between the buildings. Communications Specialty and Harris County CTC department worked closely with the recovery effort to make sure all needed equipment and expertise was quickly available to keep the Harris County justice system running.
It took from June 10 to September 17 to get all of downtown back to a relative normalcy, with five to six Communications Specialty staff downtown on a daily basis. Communications Specialty installed over 1200 phone lines, 1200 Comdial telephones, and 12 new DXP Plus phone systems during that time. Fortunately, Harris County had the foresight to prepare a disaster recovery plan which included purchasing extra Comdial inventory for such an event.
The Justice Center still remains vacant. In the new year, work will begin on restoring service at the Criminal Justice Center. Much work still remains before the county will be ready to move the courts back to that building. Comdial, and their local dealer Communications Specialty, will continue to work closely with the county to keep communication open and ensure a smooth transition back to the Justice Center.
Comdial Corporation, headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, develops and markets sophisticated communications solutions for small to mid-sized offices, government, and other organizations. Comdial offers a broad range of solutions to enhance the productivity of businesses, including voice switching systems, voice over IP (VoIP), voice processing and computer telephony integration solutions. For more information about Comdial and its communications solutions, please visit our web site at http://www.comdial.com/.