Smartphone: An Effective Tool for Emergency Response

2Nurture Connect declared mobile technology as the most important trend in emergency response systems. We’ve seen how mobile phones have expanded their limits, particularly in emergency mass notification systems (EMNS) that give a mass alerting functionality. Specifically, mobile devices have the advantage of quick access, which comes in handy during road incidents, outdoor accidents, and even the emergencies occurring in rural communities. We’ll show you the various powerful features of this nifty device that can assist us when emergency strikes.

Operating System

Of all the mobile platforms on the market, the iOS is perhaps the most efficient in terms of emergency response. According to Apple, when iDevice users dial 911, the new system automatically diverts the call to Siri. The virtual assistant will then conduct a series of questions, which will verify the degree of your situation and provide you all the sources you will need. It also has a new Location Services features on the iOS 7, which can be used for emergency calls to aid response efforts. The iPhone 5S on O2 page confirmed the new update will allow users to make calls from the lock screen itself. This will be a quick response rather than unlocking the phone to make an emergency call.

Mobile Data

By tracking call detail records, mobile data are important in predicting population displacement in disasters. Today, geo-referenced mobile phone data is crucial in measuring the impact of the emergency, which is vital in conducting assessments of humanitarian needs.

·         Population Movements

Since the calls and messages sent are routed through the nearest network, the approximate locations of a large number of smartphone owners can be determined and traced. There are studies proving its worth in understanding human movement patterns. This trend is capable of determining social media structure, and estimating malaria importation rates.

Smartphone Chips

Wired reported that the most powerful smartphone chips are capable of sensing earthquakes, and speed up the rate of response. A group of seismologists from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology has conducted a series of tests, wherein mobile phones could be turned into a network of seismometers, which indicate emergency services to respond first. The experimented chip was the Micro Electromechanical Systems (MEMS), which is commonly found on most Apple iPhones.

·         GPS Location

Through the use of GPS location data, you are able to measure the worst earthquakes, including the locations where the tremors are strongest. The data can be sent to a central command center, to help the officials deploy relief workers.

·         MEMS Sensors

The rapid growth of mobile technology will result to sensors with the highest sensitivity, which can replicate the seismic accelerometers used today, according to Wired article.

Mobile Phone Videos

In speeding up emergency response, Fierce Mobile Health said there is more value in video than in audio. Additionally, the article notes that when dispatchers send motion clips of emergency procedures, watching videos seem to reduce the stress level, allowing bystanders to extend quick help.

Similarly, smartphone videos are also of great importance at car accident scenes. Fierce Mobile cited a joint study of Wreck Watch and Vanderbilt University, wherein the company’s sensor-based system is capable of collecting data directly from automobiles, accepting videos shared by bystanders, and measuring the calamity’s aftermath. After collecting the data, the system forwards the videos for emergency responders, in a bid to show a glimpse of the scene they are about to approach.

From the functions we’ve mentioned, it just goes to show that a smartphone is a valuable addition to a disaster toolkit, along with external peripherals and mobile applications. Do you find this worth trying in emergency situations?







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