SACRAMENTO, CA (KTXL / CNN) – If you've ever used too much data on your phone, you may have noticed that your speed is slow.
It's called "throttling" and Californian lawmakers call
Smartphones, laptops, and tablets have become important tools for firefighters to save their homes and lives.
For that reason, Californian lawmakers were furious when they heard a group of Santa Clara firefighters. During the Mendocino Complex Fire, communications data was restricted.
"It's unforgivable, it's inexcusable," said Marc Levine, a California congregation member. "This was not a fire drill, it was the biggest fire in California's history and only a year after the most destructive fire in California's history."
On Friday, Levine held a hearing at Santa Clara County by firefighters and Verizon executives
"Most people would agree that we should never throttle first responders," Levine said.
Verizon executives refused to answer questions from reporters after the meeting.
But Dave Hickey, Verizon Vice President of Business and Government Sales, read a prepared statement to Levine and other lawmakers and said, "We make every effort to ensure [throttling first responders] never happens again."
Hickey said Verizon has removed all speed limits to firefighters on the West Coast and in Hawaii, where emergency teams have been working to help people in areas that are flooded by Tropical Storm Lane.
Hickey and other Verizon executives also answered the committee's questions. However, the Santa Clara firefighters who attended the hearing did not attend.
"There's a lot going on this summer and we're coming back to the Bay Area so we can get back to work," Capt. Bill Murphy of the Santa Clara County Fire Department.
Verizon also introduces a new plan to remove first responder data across the country. It should take effect next week.