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Venable partner and retired Navy Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett was interviewed on by KNX 1070 - CBS Radio Los Angeles on January 15, 2014 about the impact of a major earthquake on cell tower communications. The interview occurred on the lead up to the twentieth anniversary of the Northridge earthquake, the last major to quake to hit Southern California.

“The fact of the matter is no network for cell phones is going to be able to able to handle the capacity of all the folks who will want to call right away to check on loved ones and ask for help,” said Admiral Barnett pointing to a 500% increase in cell phone activity following the 2011 Virginia earthquake. Admiral Barnett noted recent actions by the Federal Communications Commission to improve critical 911 circuits which includes asking carriers to look at 24-72 hours of backup power, auditing 911 circuits to make sure they work, eliminating single points of failure, and other types of monitoring to make sure the system is robust. He also said a plug in land line phone would be your best bet in an emergency situation assuming phone lines are not damaged.