Disaster Management with Mobile Gateways

Posted by Holly Johnson on Dec 19, 2019 10:52:13 AM
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One aspect I find amazing when it comes to our mobile connectivity solutions is the amount of different inquires we receive from diverse entities. The versatility and use cases seem endless for this product. Spring, and even fall of this year, we hear from city managers wanting to utilize mobile routers for their City Sewer Trucks because of flooding in the area. Around harvest we hear from farmers who want connectivity in their farming equipment.  Another use we've got called for in spring, is tornadoes taking out the town's internet. Natural disasters are a perfect example of why these devices are just so important.  This week we want to talk about the benefits in disaster management a Sierra Wireless mobile router can provide.

Modern Strategies for an Increasing Problem

You aren't able to turn on the news without seeing some horrific weather-related disasters taking out complete communities.  Natural disasters are becoming more frequent and affecting more people than ever. According to The Economist since 1970, the number of disasters worldwide has more than quadrupled to around 400 a year.

From record setting rainfall creating flooding in Houston, Texas to the deadly wildfires in Northern California we saw in 2018. This problem and severity of disasters is growing fast.  As a result, strategically planning processes for these occurrences is increasingly important.  Sierra Wireless MG90 and MP70 are great tools to help in effective disaster management. 


Inoperability in the Field

To come to the best solution, you need to have a clear grasp on the problem that needs solving. The reoccurring problem that arises in the majority of these events, in the aspect of management, is the inability to share communications across organizations.  When traditional infrastructure is broken down and damaged it makes it almost impossible to share the necessary information. 

Sierra Wireless AirLink® Mobile Gateways provide a mobile Wi-fi connection that allows over 100 devices to connect.  If you arrive on the scene of a disaster where modes of communication have been compromised, you can provide your network and password to other first responders on the scene so you are all able to communicate effectively to each other, as well as getting in touch with your departments to provide situational feedback. 

In the majority of these situations KELTEK gets pulled into to consult on, we recommend a dedicated network for first responders. The last thing you need when trying to assist in dire conditions is a network bogged down by the general public's calls to their families and emergency agencies.

Being Prepared

One partnership we've made is with IGA Relief Fund, a team of police officers who came together after Hurricane Harvey to assist in the aftermath of US natural disasters. They provided water, food, and fuel to all the first responders and volunteers on site.  KELTEK helped to fund an enclosed travel trailer so supplies could be transported efficiently. This is a great use case for a mobile router to be installed as well. A central hub to communicate with different departments. being able to have face to face interactions and send that information back to the necessary personnel to better address these disasters.

Having processes set up to try and foresee the issues that come with these types of catastrophes is the smartest way to approach the issue. There absolutely has to be real time communication happening, as well as data transmission so the whole picture of the situation is seen.  Systems also need to be secure and reliable.  Sierra's devices are rugged, and secure providing comprehensive system manageability. 

Below is a case study from our use of AirLink® Mobile Routers during a 2017 tornado in Marshalltown, Iowa. We encourage you to take a look at the impressive capabilities of this device and really think through all the vast use cases for your department. 

Download the Marshalltown Tornado Case Study

Topics: Technology, Products