When it comes to emergency response, getting the right information to the right people in a timely manner is of utmost importance. Time not only is money — it can provide the ability to save lives and structures. In the world of business, the heaviest users of information management applications are enjoying benefits such as increased knowledge sharing and more effective operations. Emergency response organizations can also benefit from improved real time information flow.
When arriving at the scene of an emergency, both responders and managers are faced with high volumes of information. Their priority is to preserve life and protect the environment. This means that efficient management of information can relieve some pressure. As a decision maker during a large scale event, you need an accurate representation of all information known by the organization at that exact point in time. To make effective and defensible decisions, you need real time information, there are numerous benefits;
1. Reducing Confusion
Collaboration literally brings everyone to the same page when sharing incident information, updates, strategies. As a result, greater understanding is achieved.
2. Dramatic Time Savings
Real-time collaboration compresses the time needed for meetings because major points can be listed and agreed upon quickly, without the back and forth of briefing everyone as they arrive to an incident.
3. Awareness to Situation Change
With real-time data analysis, not only do you get a complete picture of all of your current information – you are alerted as developments unfold so you can address issues promptly.
4. Enhanced Productivity
Communication takes time, so any team working from remote locations will get more done with access to real time information.
5. Quickly Identify Problems
Real-time analysis means real-time problem solving; you can immediately take action.
6. Faster Learning
In today’s complex world, continuous learning is paramount. Using a system to record real time information can be highly useful in collecting feedback, recording insights and sharing knowledge throughout the organization.
Easy access to up-to-date, structured and reliable information can heighten situational awareness and improve the processes associated with an entire emergency response. There are numerous types of real time information accessible to todays responders. A few examples;
Global Positioning System (GPS)
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather conditions, anywhere on or near the earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is a technology to record the presence of an object using radio signals. It is used for inventory control or timing sporting events. RFID is not a replacement for barcoding, but a complement for distant reading of codes. The technology is used for automatically identifying a person, a package or an item. To do this, it relies on RFID tags. These are small transponders that will transmit identity information over a short distance, when asked. The other piece to make use of RFID tags is an RFID tag reader.
Known as atmospheric dispersion modeling is the mathematical simulation of how air pollutants disperse in the ambient atmosphere. It is performed with computer programs that solve the mathematical equations and algorithms which simulate the pollutant dispersion. The dispersion models are used to estimate or to predict the downwind concentration of air pollutants or toxins emitted from sources such as industrial plants, vehicular traffic or accidental chemical releases.
Weather forecasting is the application of science and technology to predict the state of the atmosphere for a given location. Human beings have attempted to predict the weather informally for millennia, and formally since the nineteenth century. Weather forecasts are made by collecting quantitative data about the current state of the atmosphere at a given place and using scientific understanding of atmospheric processes to project how the atmosphere will change.
Air Monitor Readings
Monitoring environmental conditions in the workplace or in the outdoor environment is an important tool in assessing potential hazards or exposures to various chemical compounds, biological agents and physical parameters. Monitoring can be done in many media, to include air, water, soil, dust and food.
A vehicle tracking system combines the use of automatic vehicle location in individual vehicles with software that collects these fleet data for a comprehensive picture of vehicle locations. Modern vehicle tracking systems commonly use GPS, but other types of automatic vehicle location technology can also be used. Vehicle information can be viewed on electronic maps via the Internet or specialized software. Urban public transit authorities are an increasingly common user of vehicle tracking systems, particularly in large cities.
Automatic Identification System (AIS)
The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automatic tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services (VTS) for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships, AIS base stations, and satellites. When satellites are used to detect AIS signatures then the term Satellite-AIS (S-AIS) is used. AIS information supplements marine radar, which continues to be the primary method of collision avoidance for water transport.
It’s important to remember, when you can’t get your hands on the information you need, or when the information you have isn’t appropriate, you can miss opportunities and your performance drops. As it happens, the information management ability organisations need to succeed is already within their grasp.