The Role of Technology and Real-time Data in Managing Concurrent Emergencies
With the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, every disaster now entails responding to at least two emergencies. Dataminr explains how organisations can best prepare.
With the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, every disaster now entails responding to at least two emergencies, and emergency responders need as much support as possible. Access to real-time data to inform responses and coordination can be a game-changer.
Emergency response organizations face the dual challenge of reacting to seasonal disasters such as forest fires, hurricanes, floods, and more, while simultaneously dealing with the pandemic's wide-ranging and still-unfolding ramifications.
"We're having to put protocols in place to protect first responders as they respond, not to mention coordinating the response remotely, and testing and quarantining people as they come back," says Trina Sheets, executive director of the National Emergency Management Association.
The Growing Role of Real-time Data
Decision-makers need to work from the same data points at all times, and "ground truth" garnered from smart sources ensures they know what's happening as it occurs.
“We’ve always relied on data and modeling, but now it’s becoming even more important as we need to make critical life-saving decisions,” Sheets says.
Regardless of the type of disaster, real-time information needs to form the cornerstone of coordinated emergency responses, especially in concurrent disaster situations. The ability to track events in real time and make decisions based on accurate data from social media and other public sources can improve response times, minimize damage, and save lives.
The key is using technology like Dataminr to identify and surface early news alerts about emerging events. That way, your organization doesn't have to dedicate precious time to the task.
Such technology can accelerate crossteam understanding and cooperation, ensure resources are allocated to the most pressing issues, and streamline data-sharing within your organization and across your emergency response teams. The technology supplements the efforts of human analysts, who can devote more of their time to higher-level, higher-value work.
Dataminr's AI platform ingests information from over 100,000 public data sources, detecting early indicators of breaking news or risks to public safety. Dataminr’s alerts ensure that organizations have access to this data, providing information minutes to hours in advance of traditional news and other institutional sources.
Real-time Data in Action
CrowdSource Rescue, a Houston-based nonprofit that uses technology to connect civilian volunteers and first responders with disaster victims, provides an ideal example: The two-person organization relies on thousands of volunteers to leap into service, whether that means rescuing people by boat during floods or delivering food to people in need. Matthew Marchetti, cofounder of CrowdSource Rescue, relies on Dataminr to notify him of emerging natural disasters— and often, his organization is already coordinating a response before the story even hits the news.
"People wonder why we're always so quick on the ball; it's because [Dataminr’s alerts] truly changed the game for us," he says. At a time when multiple, large-scale emergencies may be the new reality, taking advantage of technology that provides breaking information, even earlier, is critical.
One thing is clear: Everyone must be able to do more with limited resources, enhance team decision-making and improve their response for the benefit of their communities.
About Dataminr and First Alert
First Alert, Dataminr’s product for the public sector, provides the earliest indication of breaking news, enabling the fastest response to critical events. First Alert uses artificial intelligence to detect high-impact events from within 100,000+ publicly available information sources and delivers real-time news alerts to organizations around the globe.
To read the full story, download our ebook, Managing a Disaster during the Pandemic: Real-Time Data is Invaluable in Managing Concurrent Emergencies.
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