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Earthquakes Reminders for Disaster Preparedness

August 25, 2011 - 0 Comments

Did you feel the earthquakes this week? If you live anywhere along much of the eastern seaboard or into the Midwest, you might have felt the tremors of Tuesday’s 5.8-magnitude quake centered in Virginia; in Colorado, a 5.3 quake may have shaken you from your dreams Monday night.

These quakes are especially unique because they both struck in areas of the country we don’t commonly associate with a lot of plate movement. Thankfully, they caused little damage, and life continued as usual. Nonetheless, it seems prudent to take these unlikely events as chances to assess your disaster preparedness. Did you check the batteries in that flashlight under your bed? (Note to self: put a flashlight under the bed.)

And what about at work? In Washington, DC—one of the quake-stricken locales—government employees evacuated their buildings, from the Pentagon to the Capitol. Had the quake damaged these buildings, employees would have had to work from home. Other weather disturbances—like the hurricane season that’s just underway—stand to limit people’s mobility, but with technology like telepresence, telework offers a viable solution to nature-induced work interruptions. Telepresence applications connected to laptops, electronic notebooks, and other mobile devices can keep colleagues in face-to-face contact from multiple disparate locations.

Telepresence facilitates visual connections that provide crucial communication links that not only ensure business continuity throughout the disruption but also enable effective emergency response. With telepresence, emergency response teams can interact with each other and convey their plans with body language and visual aids, making for clear, effective communication.

If you are interested in learning more about how to prepare in case of a disaster, a presentation you may find useful was one that was delivered at our Federal User’s Forum in June. We were fortunate enough to hear a presentation from David McKenzie, VTC Manager, United States Pacific Command, about the role telepresence played in the devastating 9.0 earthquake in Japan. This presentation clearly demonstrates the benefits of having telepresence technology in place and also delves into lessons learned, capability gaps, and ongoing and future iniatives.

Also, check out this great video featuring Mark Dumas, VP Engineering and Product Management at Cisco, talking about the importance of having a business continuity plan in place before a disaster occurs in order to maintain business as usual in an emergency.

Could your agency, school, hospital, or workplace benefit from telepresence in the event of an emergency?

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