Portable Communication Channels as Lifelines During Major Catastrophes
On the 8th of November 2013, one of history’s strongest typhoons hit the Visayan islands in the Philippines. Authorities provided substantial warnings and the locals responded the way they did as with past typhoons. Unfortunately, the intensity of the catastrophic calamity was beyond expectations. No other disaster on record has created such tremendous property damage, death toll, and chaos in just a very short amount of time. Governments and smaller organizations had a hard time figuring out which disaster preparedness mechanisms to employ, and victims—particularly those in the remotest areas—were left without any choice but to improvise and accept the extent of destruction to which the turmoil had on them.
When a crisis strikes, communities are often put into wide disarray. Earthquakes, typhoons, and volcanic eruptions—among others—can result in massive infrastructural damage such as collapsed roads, power outages, and destroyed communication towers, on top of possible loss of life and widespread homelessness. Crucial during such times is a reliable communication technology that can be used to properly coordinate rescue teams and community leaders as well as notify victims and their families of their whereabouts. Unfortunately, communication signals are often disrupted during such times, and the lack of sufficient power supply just exacerbates the situation.
What happened during Typhoon Yolanda, and surely with many other natural tragedies, is proof that access to emergency lifelines is one the key components of a good disaster-response system. Because conventional communication lines are out of reach, plug-and-play-like portable cellular networks will come in handy during major emergencies. Such technology can be easily set up, transported, deployed, and stored. They were also designed to withstand severe weather disturbances as they have access to powerful GSM frequency bands. In addition, they are capable enough to wirelessly broadcast emergency news and safety messages via SMS, provide an on-site hotline service, connect to external VoIP networks, and operate using available power options such as car batteries or even solar panels.
Apparently, communication is at the core of almost every type of endeavor, whether in business, arts, or as mentioned, calamities. It stitches together many aspects of the service chain, which can then translate into better coordination between groups and individuals, faster delivery of goods, speedier recovery, and most importantly, much higher chances of survival.
The eREACH Mobile Emergency Network is a small scale fully functional GSM network solution, created to redefine the way Telecommunications support emergencies communication systems.