Emergency Management Workflow and the Role of Video
Risk mitigation and preparedness is the first stage in emergency management, making sure responders are able to react to any situation. This can include daily briefings and meetings, emergency planning, and other types of internal and external communication. In addition, emergency staff need to be trained in the latest tools, techniques and procedures. This type of staff training — as well as planning conferences and meetings — can be handled at a distance, using video conferencing and video immersive telepresence solutions. These measures save travel costs as well as travel time for employees.
Detection and Early Warning Stage
Video monitoring and surveillance takes place using stationary security cameras as well as via mobile camera applications. In the near future, 911 and other types of emergency calls will be made using video and other multi-media technologies. This type of visual next-generation 911 (visual NG911) calling is already being tested in the United States. Many 911 centers are being equipped with broadband-capable lines, while at the same time an increasing number of citizens use smartphones with video cameras and are able to transmit real-time video. Once visual emergency calling (ie. NG911) is enabled, a citizen will be able to notify authorities about crimes and other emergencies in action. Law enforcement will be able to see, in real time, an intruder — and determine if he or she is armed. Emergency operators handling a fire call can see the precise location of a blaze to better direct firefighters and potentially save crucial seconds. Citizens who lack the ability to speak can still make the nature of their emergency known, by showing operators what is happening using their phone-cams. Streaming video will also be linked with GPS coordinates to help responders locate victims or offenders.
Analysis and Incident Response Stage
Those who are equipped with the most up-to-date and detailed information, and are able to collaborate in a unified manner with others involved — so that everyone is on the same page — are better able to respond effectively. Is a fire that has been called in merely a brush fire, or is it a chemical fire? Is the damage from an earthquake minor or major? What other types of agencies need to be called in to assist? Which agencies will do what? How will the emergency response be coordinated? Real-time video conferencing and immersive telepresence between those in the field and other responders, plus decision-makers, helps everyone involved better understand an emergency situation as it is happening. When both time and accurate information are of the essence, video collaboration can be a key tool for the effective handling of any crisis. Emergency responders who can see for themselves what is happening — even if they aren’t physically present — are better armed with knowledge than those who are reporting from other sources. They can achieve situational awareness, which allows them to better plan an effective response.
Recovery and Reconstruction Stage
After an emergency, initial care and early triage can be helped by accurate communication from those in the field — which can be made easier when all involved can collaborate in real time via video. In addition, valuable evidence can be collected and preserved through video, which can help determine the cause of a crisis, methods for its possible prevention and ways to improve future response. Officials armed with information can better coordinate an ongoing response to any disaster or public security situation, whether it is transporting victims to available medical service providers, arranging for the rebuilding of damaged infrastructure or coordinating the re-establishment of public works.public works.
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