When Disaster Strikes: Technology’s Role in FEMA Aid & Emergency Preparedness Compliance

Thomas L. Lutken, NBR’s project manager, interviewed T.H. Schee, Open Knowledge Taiwan’s director, to discuss technology’s role in disaster management. He discussed the various advantages and limitations of using technology in response to a crisis and urged policymakers to educate themselves on how to use technology effectively in disaster management.

Every societal aspect experiences disasters, affecting different regions and cities. As a result, is there a level of criticality that policymakers should be aware of when it comes to using technology in disaster management?

There are varying expectations about how technology can be used in disaster response. Technology presents an immediate solution in some places, while in others, it may take a long time to develop. One of the most important factors that policymakers should consider when adopting disaster management technology is the availability of cheap and proven technology.

One of the most common types of technology used in disaster management is the ability to send and receive short text messages. This technology can be supported by all phones in the market and used to send and receive notifications when the power grid is restored.

Adapting resilient technical solutions to various operational conditions is crucial in disaster management.

In addition to the most vulnerable individuals, technology extends its reach into the various parts of disaster response. There is a constantly increasing need for ways to exchange information and protocols related to disaster management.

Sometimes, technological doctrines are abandoned due to the situation on the ground. In other cases, they are developed because the response teams cannot rely on the available resources. One of the most important factors that policymakers should consider when adopting technology in disaster management is the cooperation between the providers and users.

How Can Technology Be Incorporated in Planning Stages of Disaster Management?

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Mobility after a disaster is a major issue that can be tackled worldwide and requires long-term planning. Having the necessary information and timely communication is very important during the mitigation phase, but it is also very important during the planning phase.

Although technology should never be an afterthought regarding disaster management, it must be sustainably incorporated into the long-term planning process. One of the most effective ways to integrate technology into the disaster management process is by developing a base of legitimacy. For instance, rescue teams can use drone technology to identify the areas most affected by a disaster.

Before technology is incorporated into the planning process, the various stakeholder groups must be included in the discussion. This can help improve the quality of the discourse.

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done because technology solutions are designed to serve a set of demands and provide a comprehensive view of the response’s status. Only the decision-makers have the necessary authorization to check the status of the entire response.

Before technology is implemented, it is also important that the various stakeholder groups are informed about the system’s requirements. This can help improve the quality of the discussion and prevent the technology from failing at critical times. Another important aspect of this process is ensuring that the technical solutions are designed to meet the organization’s needs.

A common issue that arises when it comes to social media response is the lack of proper communication channels. Teams are not used to monitoring and responding to the various messages posted on social media platforms. This can lead to issues of both human and technological capacity.

If the public outcry caused by social media posts leads to a PR disaster for the decision-makers, this could cause the entire organization to distrust technology. It is also important that the decision-makers are informed about the various technical measures designed to improve the response.

MERLENN® by Counterspherics: A Technological Leap In Disaster Management

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Until now, there has been a lack of effective ways to deal with situations that can threaten the safety of others. This is because there are no plans to deal with unpredictable events.

Through the development of MERLENN®, a system and service by Counterspherics®, a business or Emergency Management team can identify the hidden risks that affect the safety of others.

Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and other threats can affect different people in different regions. For instance, riots or violent incidents in a workplace can and do affect groups of individuals differently. Through the development of MERLENN®, the team at Counterspherics has created a strategy that will help organizations respond effectively to crises.

Unlike other solutions, MERLENN® provides people with immediate updates about the situation. MERLENN® eliminates lack of or incorrect information allowing those affected to act immediately with instructions to make informed decisions about the situation. Fortunately, many people do not have the necessary information in a crisis, and this puts them at a higher risk of personal safety.

The lack of timely information and adequate measures to react can lead to the disastrous consequences of an already bad situation. Humans can adapt to conditions and must respond in a certain manner to ensure that they can handle the challenges that come their way. With the help of MERLENN®, people can now respond to hazards and threats in a well-defined manner.

Ensuring Safety By Using MERLENN® 

One of the most challenging factors for many organizations is to create a long-term digital foundation that allows them to invest in and test new technology solutions before disasters happen.

Despite the technological limitations that prevent people from obtaining the essential resources they need during a crisis, such as food, water, and shelter, technology is still helping organizations deliver effective and efficient aid to their communities and employees as needed. 

To learn more about how MERLENN® can be used worldwide and understand its capabilities in mitigating disaster impact, readers are encouraged to check out their video-animated case study about the 2011 Japan triple disaster. The study showcases how a California university used its system to provide real-time alerts and instructions to their students and families in Japan on where to go, what to do, and how to get out of the country after the disaster.

You can reach out to them today for more information.

About The Editors and Counterspherics®

Rushton Prince and Henrie Watkins are Safety and Disaster Preparedness experts. Both have extensive backgrounds as First Responders, Safety Technology Implementers, Human Protection, and Occupational Health and Safety Trainers. 

Counterspherics, the company behind MERLENN® has 22 years of experience in providing crisis response infrastructure and boasts a 100% customer satisfaction rate. To view illustrated examples of the software in action, follow Counterspherics on YouTube.

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