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Military technologies break down the wall to improved disaster response

February 11, 2010 - 0 Comments

A recent article in Emergency Management Magazine discusses a current trend that’s being seen among state and local governments. In an effort to increase the effectiveness of their emergency and disaster response, local governments are turning to an unlikely source, military technology.

The article goes on to discuss a handful of examples. For instance, Burlington Country in New Jersey, the state’s largest county, was struggling with directives to make their emergency response and recovery more streamlined and efficient following 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. The solution came from a communications system developed by L-3 Communications, which was previously used in the nuclear submarine the USS Greeneville.

The same system was implemented by the Coast Guard in Miami, FL, who was struggling with having multiple devices and handsets for different radio spectrums. The new device streamlined the system and allowed all users to access any spectrum from one device.

Although it’s great to see local government agencies and organizations looking to military technologies to ensure that their disaster response and recovery can operate in the event of catastrophe, there are additional technologies being embraced by the military and federal government that can make significant strides towards improving disaster response—most notably, video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions.

VTC solutions are incredible tools during disaster recovery operations since they allow natural, rich face-to-face interaction between people regardless of the distance separating them. When crises occur, many audiences who don’t often communicate find themselves needing to cooperate and interact. These audiences are often unfamiliar with each other’s nonverbal cues and other unheard forms of communications, often resulting in misunderstanding.

When a disaster or catastrophe occurs, subordinates need to receive clear direction. Different agencies need to communicate clearly and effectively. There is no time and leeway for misunderstanding and miscommunication. This is why video is so important.

Breaking down the walls between the agencies and individuals responding to a disaster, now that’s a new way of serving and protecting. Can your emergency response and recovery afford to not be using VTC? Can your citizens?

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