Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Disaster Communication and New Technologies

A couple of notes regarding communication technologies:

Via Jimmy Jazz, we learn that the LA Fire Department is using Twitter to provide quick updates and information - mostly responses to accidents, fires, etc., but also new postings on the LAFD blog.

Via GovTech, we learn that Minneapolis' principal WiFi consultant discovered a number of new uses for the WiFi network during the recent bridge collapse:

As the event unfolded, a number of immediate potential uses of the wireless network became apparent. They included
  • opening an alternate path to electronic communication and information for city personnel;
  • extending the Wi-Fi network infrastructure to fully blanket the scene of the bridge collapse for emergency personnel onsite connectivity;
  • implementing live multiple perspective camera coverage of the scene for EOC and Command Post uses;
  • and providing community links to city of Minneapolis resources, hospital emergency coordination units, state of Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) traffic routing information, Red Cross Blood Bank collection points, and local and national news outlets.
As communication technologies proliferate, local agencies will have an ever-increasing range of communication options that may be used in an emergency situation. This also means that, if communications are to be coordinated and effective, plans will have to be strategic and constantly reviewed.

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