Guest Post : Reasons Why Mobile Technology Future Is A Boon To Emergency Response

People looking at a huge banner of a smartphone on the ground

Terrorist attacks, hurricanes, tsunamis, wildfire, flood, tornado, earthquake are some of the most catastrophic emergency scenarios that mankind can encounter.

Governments of all countries in the current times are increasingly putting mobile technology into use for natural disaster watchfulness & community security response.

There are almost more than 6 billion Smartphone users all over the globe. Mobile technology future seems to be very promising as in the present times it is one of the most efficient ways of informing & reaching the public on the onset of a disaster.

Breaking down all barriers with mobile technology

Example #1

TacOps or Cisco’s Tactical Operations, benefits from the recent networking mobile technology emergencies that incorporates Meraki technology as well. Such technologies are cloud-controlled.

It enables in establishing connection with people during disasters even faster than local providers or the Government.

The team consists of experienced web infrastructure specialists who also receive support from a worldwide association of volunteers who will be ready within no time for offering complete assistance.

TacOps has retorted on six continents and to 45 disasters. Hurricane Maria of Puerto Rico is one of the disasters that received support from this invincible team.

Example #2

WFP or the World Food Program utilized mobile technology applications to its best interest as it is encouraged to assist more than 80 million individuals over 80 countries globally every year. It is also supposed to move 3 million bushels of food. The humanitarian organization’s mVAM or Mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping utilizes mobile technology devices for recognizing the barrier of manual data amalgamation & aggregate that sometimes results in backdated data collection.

Cisco and the WFP came in close association for exploring the utilization of voice response & SMS technology for directly collecting data from beneficiaries. By this it is possible to gain responses from the globe’s most susceptible communities in an economical manner. The information that the organization receives in real time helps them save lives.

Example #3

Russ Johnson is the director for homeland security & public safety for ESRI that is a renowned merchant of geographic information systems.

He has elucidated how mobile technology marketing social media is slowly transforming the way crisis recovery & response functions.


For instance, after an earthquake, general public as well as those belonging from the affected area start tweeting through their mobile phones. Either they inform that they are safe or tweet in a quest for making sure that their close ones are safe. People also position crowdsourced maps for bigger emergencies.


Field commanders in that way can gain real-time information and allocate various teams at various locations. Johnson also said that social media actually reproduces the rescue teams’ ability for getting sensors on the ground for gathering information.


Also, mobile technology natural disasters are always useful as data connection & power might go down at the time of emergencies but cell networks can most of the time carry text messaging traffic. When people use Twitter they must position their cell device to tweet through SMS.


Along with this, people must remember that they do not need to put in all the details in their tweets as this can decrease the phone battery as well. There must only be some key tweets that will be helpful for authorities to receive alert and move ahead for summoning aid.

Example #4

A discussion was held on mobile technology & its role in public & disaster safety at the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings. Let us take a look at all the insights shared by the participants.


  • James A. Barnett Jr. stated that at times of emergencies, the phone lines sometimes malfunction.

Here we can understand right from the history of mobile technology how it has evolved today that the participant could stress on the                significance of backup satellite networks.

He even spoke about the instance of Haiti’s generators by which the towers of cell phones could easily operate at the time of the                          country’s catastrophic earthquakes.


  • Richard Price stressed on the fact that during emergencies, there might be people who have the capacity of responding positively to the situation but they are not conscious of the disaster itself occurring. The participant runs his own organization called the Pulse Point Foundation where a notification reaches to the CPR trained professionals in case someone is going through a cardiac arrest in proximity to them.


  • Kristina Anderson let the people at the conference know that she was injured in the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.

She explained that she found slight public safety information on the campus while the shooting underwent. Students for this reason                 could not shield themselves.

She pressed on the Government by saying that every campus in the country must attain funding for developing robust public safety                   programs.

Constant mobile technology updates during emergency scenarios can be very helpful for all.


Issues that can be best tackled with Mobile Technology

When disasters or emergencies strike, children are the most affected ones. Some of the world’s most renowned and reputed humanitarian organizations are constantly striving in cultivating innovative approaches for handling crises effectively.


The one thing that truly needs to be accessible to anyone affected by any emergency is mobile phone devices.


Mobile technology development plays a very important role in the offering of quick, economical and scalable charitable assistance.

Prioritizing collaboration, enhancing accountability and structuring preparedness are 3 essential themes that must be addressed for transforming the current situation. Progress on such issues is only possible when there is shared commitment from Governments, INGOs and MNOs.


  • Structure preparedness – Mostly there is inadequacy of awareness about how Smartphone devices can be utilized in emergency situations. This is mainly because of lack of watchfulness, restricted chances for innovating in apprehensive environments of a recounting emergency, lack of humanitarian staff training, etc.

The benefits of emergency mobile technologies can only be realized when the staff undergoes coordinated training, develops                                organizational capacity, etc.


  • Enhance accountability – Facilitating two-way communications is time consuming and expensive that makes it even more difficult for guaranteeing answers to beneficiaries in emergency environments. Here Mobile technology future seems rewarding as if mobile is used accurately, it can assist information flow and authorize new voices.

This incorporates marginalized as well who can then contribute and notify the various organizations. Mobile technology devices must               be utilized as tools for carrying out needs assessments and enhancing transparency via complaints mechanisms & feedback.


  • Prioritize collaboration – The utilization and importance of mobile technology in crises often experiences hampering due to inadequacy of knowledge-sharing & collaboration between Governments, INGOs and MNOs.

Each sector has strengths that they are unaware about that result in shortage of unsuccessful responses & harmonization. Understanding the potential that emergency mobile technology holds depends upon strong-minded teamwork between every stakeholder. This guarantees efficient responses that exploit the strengths of every sector for smoothing the progress of attaining integrated solutions.


How American Red Cross uses mobile technology features for responding to disasters?

American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization offering disaster relief and emergency assistance education in the United States of America. It now stresses largely on the importance of mobile technology for establishing enhanced emergency planning at the time of crises. It has fabricated a number of effective mobile applications for helping civilians manage donation of blood, First Aid and finding shelter.

How it works?

  • Most applications are tagged under “Natural Disaster” at the Red Cross for offering alerts via reliable sources. It incorporates the United States Geological Survey and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration that lists down directions before, during and after a disaster event, contains some life saving features and locates warning on the basis of the affected person’s area. There are different applications for different disasters at the Red Cross.


  • The most updated information is present in all the separate applications and the apps also maintain apt communication & warnings. Users after they install an app can put up alerts for having their Smartphone directly inform them of alerts in their respective area.


  • The two mobile technology applications of the Red Cross that are the most effective are Shelter Finder & I’m Safe. In the former one, users can locate the shelters and know about the capacity where they will be using the American Red Cross National Shelter System data that assists FEMA as well.

The app comprises information on more than 60,000 prospective disaster facilities as well and developers update it every thirty                         minutes.

The latter app on the other hand is a customizable alert that links to social media & informs family & friends on status & location.


  • The key element of these emergency mobile technologies applications is the reliance on connectivity & phone lines that are most of the time slow or down during emergency conditions.


  • The other 4 emergency applications are:
  1. Team Red Cross
  2. First Aid App
  3. Pet First Aid App
  4. Blood App


Final Thoughts

With all the amalgamated facts, figures and features, we know how rewarding the Mobile technology future is.


Author Bio:

Manan Ghadawala is the founder of 21Twelve Interactive which is one of the best mobile app development company in India and the USA.

He is an idealistic leader with a lively management style and thrives raising the company’s growth with his talents. He is an astounding business professional with astonishing knowledge and applies artful tactics to reach those imaginary skies for his clients.

Follow him on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

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