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Created Aug 14 2018, 2:57 PM by Travis Heneveld

Speed Up Response Times and Cut Costs by Planning your Emergency Communication Network in Advance

Planning ahead for disasters is inherent to humanitarian organisations. However, the impact of advanced emergency preparedness in terms of time and cost had not been fully realised, until a recent study which was commissioned by UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP)

Focusing on Chad, Pakistan and Madagascar, the study found that investments in early preparedness could speed response times by up to 50 days and deliver a return on investment as high as 2:1. The ability to improve response times – particularly in high-risk areas – presents significant potential for saving more lives during a crisis, while the impressive cost savings could help tight budgets to stretch even further.

The study examined four core humanitarian operational areas – including logistics and procurement – and highlighted the benefits of pre-positioning emergency supplies such as telecommunications.

Ensuring You’re Connected in the Moments that Matter

A co-ordinated, cohesive response to a crisis situation is impossible without communication.  And preparing an emergency response communication network in advance can make it much quicker and more cost-effective to deploy.

Communication is not only essential to emergency response, however: it can also help to predict and prevent disasters. For example, sensors and alarms can provide early warnings before an incident occurs and help to expedite evacuations, while the remote management and control of infrastructure such as power supplies and water flow can limit the extent of damage.

Partnering for Preparedness

Motorola Solutions’ specialisation in critical communication networks, combined with our extensive experience working with disaster response organisations around the world, enables us to share our knowledge to address the potential hazards and desired outcomes of a crisis situation.

We are able to work closely with humanitarians on the ground, harnessing their awareness of the local environment, communities and infrastructure to plan an advance emergency communication network that meets their particular requirements, is robust and resilient and can be set up in the shortest time possible.  

This includes identifying the most suitable locations for rapid deployment, overcoming topographical challenges, locating storage facilities, providing 24-hour technical support and delivering on-demand training so that users get the most out of their equipment.

Where to start?

When preparing an emergency response network, a good starting point is to identify which communication networks are already in place and to establish how resilient they are: can these networks be relied upon to keep humanitarian teams connected, whenever and wherever they need to?

Once these factors have been taken into account, we can consider how to complement or strengthen the existing network. This could be through the addition of a robust, digital two-way radio network that enables voice and data communication to be prioritised. It ensures that critical transmissions get through, even in harsh conditions. The immediacy and cost-effective nature of two-way radio, as well as its ability to cover vast distances, makes it a viable solution for advanced emergency preparedness, especially in cases where the communication infrastructure has been destroyed.

MOTOTRBO DMR digital two-way radios offer a vast range of advanced features to maximise operational efficiency and safety. In addition to high-performance voice and data functionality and enhanced range for more reliable communications, their integrated GPS can help to improve response times by identifying the location of personnel and vehicles. DMR radios also offer an emergency mode option which a user in distress can activate, to send an emergency alarm message to the control room, as well as the ability to interrupt transmissions for emergency broadcasts.

With over 3000 trunked MOTOTRBO radio systems deployed worldwide, a complete ecosystem of services and expertise is in place to ensure the long-term feasibility and resilience of your network. A wide choice of applications makes it possible to customise communications according to the specific needs of different humanitarian work teams, with additional features such as automated alarm management, job ticketing and dispatch.

In situations where a communication infrastructure does exist, LTE can deliver on-demand broadband, which can be intelligently prioritised. Multimedia information can be shared in real time across networks and devices using WAVE On Cloud. Users can receive an SMS containing a network set-up file and Application download link, together with a user account and password. This allows Push-to-Talk communication to be extended quickly and easily to smartphones and tablets, storing data securely in the cloud for centralised access.

Once a kit list has been drawn up, a strategically-placed warehouse needs to be located for storage and deployment. This provides ready access to the right technology in-country, which enables communication to be set up much more rapidly and seamlessly.  There is also the option to access kit stored by an in-country Motorola Solutions Distributor, who can offer 48-hour readiness.

The establishment of an advance emergency response network can be done in a flexible manner – either via a once-off capital investment, or as a service model investment which can then be managed and maintained for a fixed annual fee.

Keeping Everything Working as it Should

Having all your equipment stored and ready to set up is all well and good, but when disaster strikes, you also need reassurance that everything will be in perfect working order and that batteries are fully charged.

Motorola Solutions offers a range of Managed Services to keep humanitarians connected and reduce the total cost of ownership. Covering onsite and technical support, repair, preventative maintenance, network event monitoring and upgrades, Managed Services allows humanitarian organisations to avoid the distraction of trying to keeping pace with technology and the cost of having to retain the requisite skills in-house. The ability to offload these operational risk, cost and management responsibilities also results in a sharper focus on the moments that matter.

Better planning means better outcomes

The evidence presented in the UNICEF/WFP study provides a strong argument for investing in emergency preparedness. Such measures ensure that humanitarians are well prepared to respond to crises backed by a resilient, critical communications network. This approach can also improve the outcome of humanitarian operations and realise substantial cost savings.

Get in touch to find out more about how we can partner with you to tailor your emergency response network so that you have the resilience and support, when and where you need it.


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