Technology is helping to save lives in emergency situations.
This year, Americans have witnessed an almost non-stop wave of disastrous events. Back-to-back hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, the recent mass-shooting in Las Vegas, wildfires that scorched the earth and decimated neighborhoods in California and here at home, in North Carolina, a recent wave of flash-floods and tornados damaged homes and caused hardship for thousands of people.
Throughout this recent wave of disasters, technology has played a critical role in coordination and relief efforts—helping to save countless lives. Major news outlets have discussed the role social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have played in connecting disaster victims with help and critical services. Not as widely talked about but equally critical, is the support provided by advanced technologies that have now transformed emergency operations.
Keep reading to learn 5 ways technology has transformed emergency operations.
The cloud has been transformational for emergency management.
The cloud has been instrumental in transforming the preparation and management of disaster recovery responses. Natural disasters can render local infrastructure useless making access to data and communication systems almost impossible. With data stored and accessible far from the disaster area, the cloud helps to navigate around what was once a major challenge. The cloud can also be scaled to meet specific requirements surrounding network traffic and volume, securing local agencies from outages.
*Learn about our Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) and Cisco Cloud solutions
Collaboration technologies have transformed communications among emergency managers.
Collaboration platforms enable communication across boundaries, physical and organizational, helping to keep emergency managers organized in disaster scenarios. With Cisco Spark for example, managers can create team-specific rooms where documents are shared, meetings conducted and communication occurs in real-time. Collaboration technology keeps every member of the emergency operations team organized and informed, drastically improving the speed and effectiveness of relief during disasters. This free-flow of information across organizations and teams has had a major impact on the effectiveness of disaster response, helping to connect loved ones, move people to safety and getting clean water to where it is needed most.
Technology has made it possible for disaster prediction to take a giant leap forward.
Today’s technology gives us the ability to capture, analyze and study data in ways virtually unheard of just ten years ago. With this data researchers can address chronic problems, create better solutions, predict future disasters and as a result, save more lives. As bigger volumes of data are generated and collected during disasters, researchers are given a greater opportunity to analyze and learn from critical lessons and experiences. Key learning’s based on big data analytics give emergency teams the ability to move proactively before the next disaster.
Drones have become critical tools in emergency response efforts.
Drones are much more than last years holiday gift of choice. This high-flying technology has grown to become a critical piece of the disaster response toolkit. Drones extend the reach of disaster-response teams working to restore power and expedite the fulfillment of insurance claims in impacted areas. Safety and speed of recovery are two of the biggest advantages to recovery teams—problems that in the past would have taken days to correct are now solved in hours or even minutes by using drones.
“Drones extend the reach of disaster-response teams working to restore power and jump-start insurance claims in storm ravaged areas”-Cisco
Social networks are playing an increasingly critical role in disaster scenarios.
Social networking apps are playing an increasingly critical role during times of disaster and emergency. At the height of hurricane Harvey, Texans took to social networking apps and websites to document their troubles and find assistance. Thousands of people used platforms like Facebook and Snapchat to draw attention to areas in need of emergency assistance, to find critical aid and to let family and friends know they were safe. The growth of apps and open data has allowed citizens and emergency crews to come together to get people the resources and help they need faster than ever before, helping to save thousands of lives.
Rapid technological improvements have transformed the speed and efficiency of emergency operations and recovery before, during and after an event occurs. And as we continue to analyze and improve disaster response through data, response times quicken, communications are optimized and emergency management operations grow to become more streamlined.