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As we look into 2018 and towards new and exciting technological advancements in emergency communications, I reminisce about a moment I recently had with my father. He recently shared a hard copy, binder version of his Emergency Response & Action Plan from the 1990’s with me. As the Supervisory Inspector of The Peace Bridge at the U.S.-Canada border, he was the lead author of the documented procedures and responsible for implementing emergency response. As we reviewed the 20-year-old plan, it brought us both back to how things once were. As we reminisced on all the late night calls he received to initiate a manual response to the crisis at hand, we went into deeper conversation about one event in particular.
It was 3:30 AM and the phone in the Bagdasarian house began ringing. My father received a call alerting him that they needed to lockdown The Peace Bridge. A bomb threat was confirmed and they now needed to execute their Emergency Response & Action Plan to mitigate any potential safety risks. Binder at his side, he now needed to close the border crossing, establish signage to redirect traffic, notify the Buffalo Police Department and the FBI, establish a unified command, and start a call tree to follow each step of their Lockdown Procedure as defined in the plan.
This was in 1998 and in 2018 lockdowns still occur; however, emergency communications has evolved dramatically. Today, an Emergency Action Plan can be mapped to a scenarios management system that can be initiated in a matter of seconds. The entire sequence of initial actions can be automated to notify people, mobilize resources, and establish a collaborative environment for the duration of the incident.
The Binder. Days, weeks, months, even years of preparation go into crafting each procedure that is influenced by best-practices and lessons learned. This is all commendable; however, what good does this do if this collection resides in a binder on someone’s desk or electronically on a website?
As an everyday hero, like my father, you can now be a real-world superhero equipped with the technology to prepare an effective emergency action and response plan that exponentially improves your human ability to keep people safe. In our third volume of Critical Mass Magazine: Automating Emergency Notifications, you will learn how your pre-planning can help you to notify those in need of knowing of any emergency in a more efficient and timely manner.
Best to you in 2018. Be prepared. Be safe.