How Technology Innovation Has Played a Role in Emergency Response

Emergency First Aid Training Lifesaver CPR

Digital solutions are being brought to sectors that previously lacked access to technology, such as the non-profit sector, thanks to technological innovation. Because of the rapid pace of change, one of technology’s most significant societal benefits may be found in the humanitarian sector, which must contact large numbers of people in distant and dangerous regions to deliver crucial resources quickly.

More efficient and required information flow is enabled by the use of social media, drones, satellite imaging via GIS, real-time disaster modeling, and broad connectivity. It saves lives to have immediate information on the most severely damaged portions of a city or the locations where people are still stuck. Emergency management can design more tailored response plans with real-time data, which is a technical leap from the past. For example:

Aerial Robotics

Mavic Pro Quadcopter Drone Camera

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), sometimes known as drones, are one type of aerial robotics that has the potential to change humanitarian relief. Organizations may more effectively map topography, analyze damage in real-time, boost situational awareness through high-resolution mapping, and deliver products faster, cheaper, and more efficiently with this technology.

These “digital responders” are less expensive, lighter (as little as three pounds), and quieter than helicopters or planes, with pre-programmed paths that allow them to fly in life-threatening situations. They provide access to locations that would otherwise be inaccessible. Infrared cameras and advanced listening equipment also allow UAVs to find survivors among the debris or amid flames, as well as live-stream nig.

Aerial image maps give humanitarian organizations a complete picture of the region, including infrastructure damage, stranded communities’ locations, safe regions for resettlement, and efficient assistance delivery routes. The administration was able to use digital elevation models to track changes in water levels across the region.

Connectivity and Smartphone Access

 Woman holding an iPhone

The basic connection is a type of help that connects individuals to key resources and allows humanitarian agencies to immediately send life-saving information in the event of a crisis. For example, Cisco’s Tactical Operations (TacOps) uses the newest mobile networking technology, including cloud-controlled Meraki technology, to restore connectivity after a disaster.

Dialing 911 is supposed to be straightforward, and children should learn how to do it as soon as possible in the event of an emergency. While cellphones and technology have made many sorts of emergency response easier and more efficient, they may have made matters more difficult for these three numbers.

Make sure everyone in your house knows how to use your smartphone’s emergency keypad. If your phone has a passcode, you can utilize the emergency setting to circumvent it and make important calls, such as 911 calls. Demonstrate how this technology works to your youngsters so that they do not become slowed down by it.

Geographical Information Systems

Arid Landscape Near Lake Amadeus, Landsat Satellite Image

For emergency responders, geographic information systems (GIS) are extremely useful. This analytical mapping technology aids in determining the location of hazards, the number of persons affected, and the appropriate reaction. Decision-makers can use GIS models and simulation capabilities to practice response and recovery plans during non-disaster times, as well as analyze near-real-time scenarios.

GIS systems can provide crucial social data that can assist emergency responders and public health officials in determining a population’s vulnerability to a disaster. In research circles, steps are being taken to use “citizens as sensors” to produce a more realistic real-time image for situational awareness to assist decision-makers.

Street Lamps

Street Lamps

Though street lamps may appear to be an unusual instrument for emergency management and response, the Intellistreets lamps’ revolutionary design adds a strong new layer of capability to seemingly regular lighting. Environmental sensors in these street lamps identify threats such as increasing water levels, strong winds, extreme temperatures, and poisonous gas.

They also have 180-degree cameras that provide a live view of pedestrian traffic and changing scenarios. These Intellistreets lighting can be used by emergency management teams to respond to threats and transmit vital information to residents.

Area management can use the lamps to indicate warnings, danger, or the safest escape path because they illuminate in four different colors. A modular LED video wall can display notifications, and concealed speakers make it easier to make important public announcements.

Emergency Communication Apps

Mobile Apps

Smartphone use is widespread, making these devices excellent for conveying emergency response activities to the general population. According to a PEW Research report, 68 percent of smartphone owners at least occasionally use their devices to follow breaking news events. FEMA, seeing the potential in this trend, has created an app that assists in the communication of crucial information to at-risk populations.

Users may use the FEMA app to get weather updates, find emergency shelters, and even share their disaster photos to assist rescuers in better comprehending the hazard. The app includes advice on how to deal with more than 20 different types of emergencies and calamities. These new and creative response technologies can assist public health specialists in acting promptly in the case of an emergency and the aftermath.


While technology cannot replace the essential resources people require in a disaster – food, water, shelter, or the comfort of loved ones – it is transforming disaster relief efforts and paving the way for a new approach to international aid: one that can reach more people, faster, and assist communities in building resilience in the event of the next disaster.

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