During hurricanes and floods, people often rely on emergency responders for help. So it’s critical that the electricity stay on at the buildings where ambulances and EMTs are stationed.

“Being able to power their entire building is very important, so they can respond to emergencies quickly,” says Angelica Ramdhari of Solar One.

The organization is helping equip two ambulance services in New York City with solar panels and battery storage systems.

On sunny days, the solar generates clean energy. But if a storm causes a blackout, the battery provides back-up power, so the EMTs can continue to run equipment and dispatch help.

But people do not just need medical assistance during a disaster. They also need a safe place to go.

So Solar One is also installing systems at other community facilities, for example, a school – and in phase two of the effort – four libraries. These sites can then function as shelters and a place for people to charge their phones.

“A lot of people found that not being able to communicate with their loved ones was one of the biggest problems after Sandy,” Ramdhari says. “So in addition to not having power, not being able to tell people that they’re OK.”

By making sure the power stays on, the systems will help keep people safe and connected during a disaster.

Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media.