The phones started ringing at the Gridless Power offices, in Collingswood, about three weeks ago, as the coronavirus started to flare up in the United States.
Gridless was asked to work with county emergency-management offices that were establishing pop-up health clinics to test for COVID-19.
Gridless makes portable battery and communications systems that provide secure Wi-Fi to remote areas and keep disaster-response equipment powered up and running. The Gridless Hotspot and Gridless WiFi NODE have become key parts of first responders’ equipment.
“We’ve been through a lot of disasters at this point, and we always do whatever we can to help,” said
Andrew Leonard, the company’s COO. “Our production lines are running at full capacity to produce new equipment, and in the meanwhile we use our fleet of demo equipment to help tide people over.”
All of the company’s demo fleet is deployed at the moment, said Leonard. “We told them to keep them as long as you need to. This is an emergency situation.”
He added, “They are using Gridless equipment to prop up mobile testing sites, where people drive through and get tested for COVID-19. There are sites with 100 emergency healthcare workers at a mobile test clinic, so they use our equipment to set up temporary infrastructure — power and communications. We’re keeping their laptops, phones and radios powered, and providing Wi-Fi so they can stay connected and report the test results as quickly as possible.”
Leonard said that he has handled calls from the National Guard in New York, Washington and Georgia, as well as units in Philadelphia and various locations in New Jersey, making sure they were up to speed on how to use the systems.
The company has been in business for about 10 years. “We were deployed after Hurricane Sandy, providing equipment in Seaside Heights,” he said, noting that they have helped first responders during various disasters over the years, for instance by powering medical clinics in Africa during the Ebola crisis and powering search-and-rescue equipment in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.