AT&T network technician Carl Smith's brick home survived Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina, with only downed tree limbs and no power.

"We were extremely lucky," he said. "So I didn't feel bad leaving my wife and getting to work to triage sites."

One of our FirstNet sites needed help near the Brunswick County Government Complex. Using his radar app, Carl watched for breaks in the rain so he could open the outdoor network cabinet for repairs. After testing, he figured out the solution. But he only had 1 repair part and it couldn't get wet.


"I tried a tarp but the wind was so bad," he said. "It took all night to get a period of time that was dry enough. The work took 2 to 3 hours. I finally used a trash bag to cover the site and worked inside of it. We have to improvise a lot during times like this."

The first responders were grateful. "They were super nice and even fed me," he said.

As Carl tried to head home, he found the main highway was washed out and the nearby roads were in flooded swamps. He used up most of his gas trying to find a way out, and ultimately had to radio for help. He's now home safe and sound.

Carl seemed unfazed. "I'm just doing my job," he said.