When first responders arrive on the scene of a natural disaster, fire, or other emergency situation, they have a new arsenal of tools to use. Public safety often involves fluid, quickly shifting situations, which is why it’s so important for all responders to have access to the most current information. Real-time data transfer is key, which is where technology can step in. Whether it’s emergency preparation apps, sensor-equipped drones, or portable broadband networks, here are a few ways that technology is making us all safer.
- Public safety apps
One of the most widespread uses of public safety technology is mobile apps. Both civilians and public service providers can gain access to useful information, report problems, or communicate with one another via apps like WISER. This all-inclusive app for public safety official includes a full range of information pertaining to best practices in a variety of emergency situations, from forest fires to gas explosions. See Send is another useful example, connecting the public with first responders and law enforcement officials. Part of the “See something, Say something” safety campaign, it allows the public to send in reports of suspicious packages or activity with geo-tagging and real-time updates.
- Data-collecting drones
Drones are also used by public safety experts to monitor situations on the ground. Because they can access where people may not be able to reach, they are able to provide audio, video, and photographic recordings via their cameras and sensors. Many are built to withstand extremely high temperatures. With the data collected from drones, responders have more realistic data models at their fingertips to make decisions in a quickly-changing environment.
- Portable LTE or broadband networks
Many of these forms of technology rely on access to an online network, but what happens when the network is down? Portable broadband or LTE networks like public safety technology from Nokia Networks is available to create a network on the go. In remote locations or natural disasters, this is vital for transmitting information.
- Emergency alert systems
There’s an array of mobile alert systems in place to give updates in emergencies. Texts are sent out to citizens in impacted areas. This was just used in the New York bombings back in September, to track down suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami. New Yorkers received an alert with the suspect’s name and photo, leading to his eventual capture. This is part of the Wireless Emergency Alerts system, which has been used in the USA since 2012 both for terrorist attacks as well as dangerous weather situations.
- Data storage on the go
Responding successfully to an emergency situation is only one piece of the puzzle. A big part of disaster preparedness in the public safety sector is analysing data after the fact, in order to formulate a more efficient response for next time. Again, this is where the latest forms of technology can come in quite handy. Cloud storage systems are used not just by businesses or to store your personal photos – they can be quite useful as a way to store data remotely. If local infrastructure has gone down, this gives a backup source of data for future analysis.
As cloud computing and technology like the Internet of Things continues to grow in scope, we’ll see even more uses of public safety tech in our future. For the men and women on the ground, this will prove invaluable in saving lives.