Governments around the world today are faced with more types of emergencies and situations to deal with than even before - natural disasters, health hazards, social unrest, border control and acts of terrorism. Public Safety and Security agencies along with Fire and Health departments’ emergency and tactical response teams have been tasked to provide an ever-widening array of services, while simultaneously reducing operating costs and improving cross-agency collaboration. To respond to these requirements, they have invested in technologies such as video conferencing and streaming to address such challenges. This is the case of Australia’s NSW Fire Service, Korea’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the US National Guard or NATO among many others. Today, Law Enforcement, Health and Emergency Services, Fire and Rescue, Paramilitary forces highly depend on such real-time audio and video communications tools at all stages of the emergency management process.
Risk mitigation, awareness and training programs are necessary to making sure responders and citizens alike are better prepared and know how to react in any situation. Video conferencing and streaming technologies are used to host daily briefings and meetings at a distance, discuss emergency plans, and educate staff and citizen with video-based learning and communications. It allows emergency teams to stay updated on the latest tools, techniques and procedures. This type of staff training, emergency planning meetings as well as briefings and debriefings, can be done at a distance, using video collaboration and/or immersive telepresence solutions. These measures save time and costs, improve knowledge transfer and retention resulting in higher levels of preparedness for responders and citizens.
Video surveillance allows the monitor and capture of any event or situation taking place simply by using stationary security cameras, in-vehicle cameras, wearable cameras as well as smart phone cameras. In the near future, emergency calls to dispatch centres will be made using video calling and other multi-media technologies. Citizens will be able to notify authorities about any crime or emergency in action. Law enforcement personnel will be able to see and determine, from a distance, if an intruder or suspect is armed. Emergency operators handling a fire call can see the precise location of a blaze to better direct firefighters and potentially save crucial seconds. Citizens who lack the ability to speak can still make the nature of their emergency known, by showing operators what is happening using their phone-cams. Streaming video will also be linked with GPS coordinates to help responders locate victims or offenders.
Is a fire that has been called in merely a brush fire, or is it a chemical fire? What other types of agencies need to be called in to assist? Those who are equipped with the most up-to-date and detailed information are able to collaborate in a unified manner with others involved, to respond more effectively. Mobile video collaboration and immersive telepresence solutions help everyone involved better understand an emergency situation while it is happening. When both time and accurate information are of the essence, video collaboration is a mission-critical tool to handling any crisis effectively. Emergency responders who can see for themselves what is happening — even if they aren’t physically present — are better armed with knowledge than those who are reporting from other sources. They can achieve situational awareness, which allows them to better plan and respond swiftly.
After an emergency, initial care and early triage can benefit from accurate communication in the field. It is made possible when all volunteers and professionals involved can collaborate in real time via video. Valuable evidence can be collected and preserved through video, which can help determine the cause of a crisis, methods for its possible prevention and ways to improve future response. Government officials armed with real-time information can better coordinate an ongoing response to any disaster or public security situation. This includes transporting victims to available medical service providers, arranging for the rebuilding of damaged infrastructure or coordinating the re-establishment of public works. In the event of a lengthy pandemic or other major disaster, governments deploy video conferencing technology at all levels of their organization to ensure Continuity of Operations or and provide essential services to communities in affected areas.
Natural and man-made disasters will not go away any time soon. Government agencies need to arm themselves with the right technology to be better prepared, detect, respond and recover from any situation more efficiently than ever before. Video conferencing and video content management solutions have been widely recognized by world-class emergency services teams. Polycom is proud to continuously contribute to the improvement of emergency and crisis management around the planet. Our innovation in voice and video technologies for the past 25 years, enable responders and rescue teams to enjoying the highest quality of voice and video communications at the lowest bandwidth whether on-base or in the field. With Polycom at your side, you can enhance operational efficiency and sustainability as well as enable rapid and informed decision-making for greater mission success.
This blog is part of a series of 25 blogs that take a look at how Polycom has transformed industries and business functions.
These blogs are a variety of retrospective, current and visionary perspectives with the common thread of unleashing the power of human collaboration. Follow the hashtag #Polycom25 on Twitter for tweets about this significant anniversary in our history.