HEBRON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The tragic events over the weekend have also spotlighted an issue that has been going on for years in Hebron — the lack of cell phone service. Jill Nadolski is a Town Council member and says that for years, the town has been trying to get better cell phone service, not just for convenience but for public safety.

“The people here are in shock and reeling with what has happened,” she said.

Just last year, a man got in an accident and could not call for help. Then, on April 15, Kaylin Gillis and her friends got lost in the area due to a poor GPS signal. Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy said a Hebron homeowner allegedly shot into a vehicle in which Kaylin was a passenger. The group had to drive several miles to the town of Salem to call for help due to the spotty cellphone service in the area. Kaylin died from her injuries.

NEWS10 spoke with some town officials, who said adding cell phone towers is not as simple because of the area’s terrain. The town has a contract with AT&T; however, if someone has another cell phone service, they will have virtually no signal.

“Now, we have high-speed broadband. And I am speaking to you on a cell phone through Wi-Fi calling. Now, if my Wi-Fi isn’t working, I have no cell service in my home,” Nadolski said.

And it’s the same situation when she steps outside. For all residents, getting cell service is a challenge. Brian Cambell, Hebron Town Supervisor, says that T-Mobile and Sprint have already petitioned to be on the tower.

“With Verizon, you will think since the Sling network is covered with fiber optics, you would expect they would wanna be on the tower, too,” he said. “So if they come, Verizon would be a good choice, but until they are up and running in the tower, anybody with Verizon still can’t get service.”

Nadolski also says that this public safety issue affects the town’s access to healthcare. Right now, the closest healthcare facility is 30 minutes away, and the nearest hospital is 45 minutes away.

Hudson Headwaters Health Network has a mobile van that comes to nearby Salem twice a week for residents.

“And they park it at the Historic Salem Courthouse Parking Lot where they can get cell service and water,” Nadolski said. “But they are now building a facility in Salem.”

Town officials hope the issue is fixed sooner rather than later to increase cell service so there is more accessibility to help during emergencies.