Improved crisis preparedness with smarter emergency response planning

Director of Public Safety, Law Enforcement, Emergency Management Solutions, IBM

Incidents and emergencies that impact public safety happen in every community the world over. Ranging in size and scope from traffic accidents and water main breaks to crime, terrorism and natural disasters, these events create a strain on police and emergency management personnel. Limited resources drive a continuous need to ensure officers, responders and managers act and react in the most effective and timely way. Lack of integration across systems and agencies and lack of a true understanding of the situation based on real time information can impede effective resolution, resulting in risks to human life and damage to critical infrastructure.

An integrated C3 (command, control and communication) solution is needed. 21st century technologies using data analytics coupled with social and mobile technology present a rich opportunity to streamline and integrate preparation, response, recovery and mitigation of what I will call the “daily set of unexpected incidents” as well as emergencies and disasters.  

With processes and support systems that combine analytic, social and mobile technology, incident commanders, emergency managers and staff can create a common operating picture that reduces the complexity of managing information across agencies. A common operating picture increases situational awareness by integrating many data sources in near real-time and enables predictive analysis as well as ‘what if’ scenario planning – all helping to provide unparalleled command and control functionality. Using unified dashboards, real time alerts and mobile accessibility, response is both faster and collaborative.

The Philippine Department of Science and Technology is helping their government do just that. In the wake of the devastating 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, IBM donated an Impact Grant of technology and services to help the Philippines respond to immediate needs but also prepare for the next big typhoon.  The integrated solution is in regular use, pulling data from disparate sources into a common view and providing critical information such as advance warning of extreme weather events, conditions of buildings, roads and infrastructure and enabling scenario planning to streamline and integrate the government’s response to crises. 

IBM has worked with governments and public safety organizations all over the world implementing these kinds of public safety technology solutions. We have learned that one of the best preparation techniques is to use the same analytic, social and mobile technology to manage day-to-day community incidents (the unplanned power outage or the planned parade) as you plan to use in responding to crises situations. Familiarity helps ensure that first responders and C3 staff can engage immediately and naturally in response, recovery and mitigation without time lost to dusting off special documentation and systems.

The result of processes and support systems that combine analytic, social and mobile technology is to help public safety leaders recognize, visualize and act on events while drawing intelligent conclusions about how events relate to each other. Instead of simply reacting to events, community leaders can better anticipate what is likely to happen and how to optimize operations to better protect and serve citizens and businesses. Anticipate and respond to unexpected events with agility.

Equip your emergency management personnel

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