Formatting updates to this page were made on September 25, 2018
|Paging As A Platform For Public Safety Response|
PAGING AS A PLATFORM FOR PUBLIC SAFETY RESPONSE
Natural disasters such as floods, bush fires, tropical storms and earth quakes cause billions of dollars damage each year to homes, businesses and infrastructure along with serious disruption to communities. Scientific research indicates that more of these extreme natural events can be expected in the future. There is also growing concern globally regarding the likelihood of a viral pandemic.
In addition to natural disasters and in the wake of September 11, 2001 the world has witnessed terrorist attacks and terrorist activity in many countries. This phenomenon is with us to stay at least for the foreseeable future, and no country would appear to be exempt.
Against this backdrop of natural and man made disasters responsible Governments have adopted a fundamental shift in focus towards cost effective, evidence based disaster mitigation. This represents a move beyond disaster response and reaction towards anticipation and mitigation.
The political consequences to Governments who fail in their accountability are significant, as we are seeing in the USA as a result of the Tornadoes that hit New Orleans, and in Britain as a result of the terrorist attacks targeted at users of the public transport systems.
This paper looks at the role communications, and in particular radio paging, plays as a tool to assist those organizations responsible for the preparedness and response to disasters.
AN “ALL HAZARDS” APPROACH
Universally, and consistent with best practice, governments deal with emergencies by addressing the consequences for individuals, communities, effected sectors of industry infrastructure and the economy.
By taking an “all hazards” approach the arrangements developed for handling for example natural disasters, will be consistent with directions taken for other emergencies.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBILITY
In many cases national governments have established umbrella organizations to manage disasters at a national level. These organizations generally report to their government entity through a “portfolio” and are responsible for among others things to take a leadership role in policy, education and training, co-ordination and risk mitigation. Vision statements of such organizations will be along the lines of “safer sustainable communities”.
State authorities such as the Police, Ambulance, Fire Fighting Services, Emergency Response Services including such groups as the local Life Saving Club are usually the first to be called to an emergency because of entrenched processes and standard operating procedures.
These units, and often a combination of two or three units responding together, are usually the first to be called to an emergency, depending on the type of call out and the location.
Of the lessons learnt after September 11 the most important was that cooperation and goodwill has to exist between all levels of the response team, Federal/National, State/Territory and local government authorities, the business sector and emergency response organizations.
Also identified as key to operational success were, interoperability, standardized communications systems, compatible equipment and information sharing to enable a coordinated multi-agency approach to emergency management.
COMMUNICATIONS IN A DISASTER SITUATION
There is a considerable body of work being developed in Europe right now to suggest that paging is the most effective method of communication available to address the Authority to Citizens requirement, particularly in hybrid devices such as a paging receiver built into every mobile phone. Other forms of communications do not meet stated objectives.
This paper will deal with communications concerning those people first called to respond to a situation. However Infostream has a large amount of material available on the broader issues which can be made available upon request.
In these cases it is usually the fire fighting and emergency response teams (sometimes referred to as Emergency Service Organizations or ESO’s) that are first to be called out. These teams are then usually supported by Police, Ambulance and other like bodies as required.
In most cases the ESO response teams are made up of career personnel (full time employees of the agency) and volunteers who make up the majority of the total ESO human resources.
Volunteers are seen in many counties as an indispensable part of the disaster and emergency management capability and these countries are nurturing their volunteers by providing legal protection, incentives, recognition and training.
In places like Australia it would be virtually impossible to manage all emergency events without volunteers due to the population distribution of the country.
ALERTING THE ESO MEMBERS
Typically ESO’s are organized into “cells” consisting of a number of members in each. Each cell member will carry a pager which will be programmed to receive messages for that particular cell or “group” only. When a cell is required to respond to an emergency a page message will be sent to that cell with details of the situation and a call to action. Once sufficient crew members have responded to the call they will attend to the emergency.
The pagers are usually “grouped” so that relevant information can be distributed through the ESO’s chain of command. This ensures that members, supervisors, regional managers etc are fully aware of information vital to any decision making process for their specific needs.
BENEFITS OF USING RADIO PAGING
Terminal Equipment Benefits:
FRESH APPROACH TO ALERTING
The company strongly believes that wireless messaging and associated software provides the solution for governments and international operators to effectively manage the alerting requirements of their emergency organizations in the face of a disaster.
By taking a fresh approach to emergency alerting requirements Infostream has developed a system called VIPER, and a terminal device called Xstream, which are capable of delivering levels of performance and functionality not seen before anywhere in the world.
Crafted on IBM’s DB2 and WebSphere platform using a Linux operating system, VIPER delivers mission critical performance rated at 99.999% confirmation of messages to air.
Technical information of the VIPER system includes the following:
Key features of the VIPER system include the following:
XSTREAM TERMINAL (PAGER)
The Xstream is at the forefront of Infostream’s innovative wireless technology, truly a world class product in design and function.
Winner of the European Mobile Messaging Award, the Xstream is IP54 certified and IS6 Q1 2005. Features of the product include:
THE AUSTRALIAN EXPERIENCE
After LSE Technology Australia Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Leighton Corporation, was chosen to build the new $100 million Emergency Alerting System (complete with 190 transmitter sites across the state, a control site and disaster recovery centre in Melbourne), Infostream was chosen to supply pager and IT hardware, CAD software, network architecture and ESO training and transition services.
The new network replaces Victoria’s "fragmented, ageing and unreliable" system, which covered at best only 50 per cent of the state. The low frequency paging system will provide 97 per cent coverage of Victoria. It will significantly boost response times and enhance the safety of emergency services workers.
Tens of thousands of volunteers have been issued with Infostream’s award-winning product, the Xstream. The splash-and-dust-proof wireless messaging device is high-tech on the inside, rugged on the outside—ideal for use in hazardous situations and emergencies.
THE INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE
Infostream is willing to assist any country in establishing a reliable, cost effective emergency alerting system to mitigate the effects of emergencies or disasters.
In October 2005 Infostream’s CEO, Mr Roy Chandler, accepted a nomination to become a board member of the European Mobile Messaging Association (EMMA).
HOW TO CONTACT US
Infostream Pty Ltd
Phone: +61 2 99863588
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