Links To Disaster Support and Emergency Telecommunications Development Resources
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Links To Disaster Support and Emergency|
Telecommunications Development Resources
links checked 28 June 2009
This page provides
links to international and national organizations ( United Nations, NGOs
and Governments) active in the definition, support and development of emergency telecommunications.
It includes those organizations working to improve the standards of emergency communications,
improving international and national capabilities for emergency telecommunication operations and, creating cross border support for emergency telecommunications.
It does not provide
help in contacting emergency services, posting a warning,
or where to find emergency support and relief except for the chapter on
emergency telephone numbers. This will be the topic of a separate page which is currently in preparation.
The purpose of this page
is to stimulate a broader interest and involvement in the area of emergency telecommunications with the hope that within the near future we will have better telecommunications worldwide in terms of disaster warning, greater access for emergency teams responding to natural disasters, and provision for faster response to relief efforts and to calls for help.
Currently only 1/3 of the countries of the world have responded to the Tampere Convention which asks countries to agree to provide access to telecommunication resources for use by humanitarian relief and assistance agencies for disaster mitigation and relief operations.
Much of the world still does not have the infrastructure capable of handling emergency and relief communications. Standardization is not universally accepted so as to create maximum interoperability and interfacing of services and systems. We still have a long way to go and there are those who will depend in the future on what we are able to accomplish now.
This is a first draft. Please Contact us with material for inclusion.
Regularly Updated Emergency Phone Numbers Provided and checked by FIESTA (Filipino International Emergency Services Training Association)
Emergency Numbers for Many Countries
for ambulance, fire and police. Includes US cellular phone emergency number and other emergency numbers.
Emergency Phone Numbers by Wikipedia - gives the emergency number of many countries and alternatives, history.
Read this for a general understanding of emergency communications in EU Major Achievements Over The Past Year - blog of the European Emergency Number Association (EENA).
European Emergency Number Association (NINA) Belgium nonprofit association "...to promote the knowledge and efficient use of the 112, the single European Emergency Call Number, all over Europe..."
Single European emergency call number 1-1-2
On implementation of the 112 in the EU, Knowledge by European public, Workshops/projects on 112.
The European Emergency Number Association (EENA)
non-profit to promote the use of the 112 as the single European Emergency Call Number.
Acts to foster discussion between all of the organizations, services and individuals involved.
National Emergency Number Association (911)
"NENA's mission is to foster the technological advancement, availability, and implementation of a universal emergency telephone number system. In carrying out its mission, NENA promotes research, planning, training and education."
Organizations Involved with Emergency Telecommunications Internationally
return to index
Online Resources on Emergency Communication by regulareonline.org
Good coverage. Be sure to see Related Research and Resource Items on their page.
of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(WGET) The Working Group on Emergency Telecommunications maintained by OCHA.
Gives Introduction, Operational and Technical, Training, Policy and Regulatory, Tampere Convention.
See ReliefWeb's page on WGET Meetings, Documents, Frequency Coordination and participants since 1994.
on the Provision of Telecommunication Resources for Disaster Mitigation and Relief Operations
adopted by the Intergovernmental Conference on Emergency Telecommunications (ICET-98).
An agreement between countries, coordinated by UN emergency relief coordinator
to provide humanitarian relief and assistance agencies telecommunication resources for disaster mitigation and relief operations.
In the interest of providing to humanitarian relief and assistance agencies reliable, flexible, safe, accurate, rapid, efficient, accurate and truthful information, and the special needs of disaster-prone least developed countries for technical assistance to develop telecommunication resources for disaster mitigation and relief operations... the signatories to this convention agree to facilitate international cooperation to mitigate the impact of disasters. The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator shall be the operational coordinator for this Convention with the role of coordination activities of an international nature.
Delineates the nature of the cooperation between member states to the Convention.
Defines terms used in Convention and attributes privileges and immunities to NGOs and non-State organizations, operational coordination carried out by United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, framework for cooperation between members and non-State entities, provisions for request for assistance, privileges, immunities and facilities to be provided by the Requesting State Party not to prejudice rights and obligations to international agreements and international law; defining telecommunication assistance - termination of such, payment and reimbursement and assistance inventory; the removal of regulatory barriers; Conventions relationship to other international agreements, dispute settlement, amendments, reservations, denunciation, and multi-lingual nature of the Convention text.
As of 2 June '05 69 countries had signed (slightly over only 1/3 of the countries of the world).
For Executive Summary Click here
The Sixth APEC Ministerial Meeting on the Telecommunications and Information Industry (TELMIN6)
(Download PDF file)
(1-3 June, 2005 Lima, Peru)
As a part of the Lima Declaration, the following (our summary) was stipulated under section V 'Communication Networks for Disaster Mitigation and Relief Operation':
Recognize importance of effectively preparing for and responding to emergency and natural disasters
a) Encourage the application of ICT for disaster/emergency detection, mitigation, response, and recovery including the delivery of medical and humanitarian assistance;
b) Consider areas in which the TEL can support human capacity building related to emergency response and disaster relief;
c) Continue work on ICT-based disaster early warning systems including APEC i-DWS (Disaster Warning Systems) Development Strategy and APEC Guide(s) on i-DWS;
d) Strengthen effective response capabilities among and within APEC economies and recognize that the TEL should cooperate and coordinate with these efforts; and
e) Explore means to exchange experiences and promote collaboration in the area of disaster and emergency detection, mitigation, response, and recovery
Website Emergency Communications Asia 2005 Conference Shanghai Dec 8-9 2005
ISCRAM Community International community on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management. "ISCRAM Community members are researchers, scholars, teachers, students, practitioners and policy makers interested or actively involved in the subject of Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management."
DERA - The International Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response Association
"...assist communities with disaster preparedness, hazard mitigation, emergency response-recovery, and to serve as a worldwide professional association linking professionals, volunteers, and organizations active in all phases of emergency management."
"DERA currently has active members around the world, representing national governments, non-profit associations, official agencies and departments, educational institutions, corporations, small business concerns, emergency management professionals, researchers, and volunteers"
2005 Preparedness Workshop, DERA Online Library, DisasterCom Newsletter, Emergency Management Gold
VOICE Voluntary Organisations in
Cooperation in Emergencies. The main NGO interlocutor with the European Community on humanitarian aid. Since ECHO (the European Community Humanitarian Office) was established in
1992, VOICE (Voluntary Organisations in Cooperation in Emergencies) has served as
the main NGO interlocutor with the EC on humanitarian aid. VOICE has produced
the following briefing in order to take stock of the evolving NGO-ECHO relationship
– institutionalized as 'partnership'.
CDERA Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency emergency telecommunications course
16 members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
Remarks by Earl Arthur Sun, 30 Oct 2005, 14:04 "This Emergency Telecommunications Workshop that will be convened here over the next two days is designed to train approximately fifteen (15) Emergency Operators from the Turks and Caicos Islands' Disaster Office, Fire, Police, Medical departments and Community Response Personnel.
The overall intention is to create a cadre of trained communication personnel who can support all emergency operations; including Search and Rescue. In this regard, participants will be oriented to the use of Emergency Communications units such as High Frequency (HF) and Very High Frequency (VHF) Radios, Satellite Telephones, Message Handling, and Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) procedures. The Participants will also be exposed to the communication protocols used throughout the region in support of the Regional Response Mechanism."
ERO Frequency Information System allowing searches according to :
General, Allocations, Applications, Documents, Interfaces, Right of use information Allocations, Applications, Interfaces
TSF TÉLÉCOMS SANS FRONTIÈRES (French English Spanish) Large number of emergency missions worldwide principally mobile satellite communications apparatus
using a team of radio HF-VHF technicians for installation and maintenance integrating, in some cases, long term humanitarian sustainable development projects through Mobile Telecommunication Community Centres (MTCCs) to provide isolated communities with
"..access to Information and Communication Technologies: telephone, fax, access to the Internet and different software programs."
USTDA United States Trade and Development Agency
"USTDA's mission is to advance economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. To this end, the agency funds various forms of technical assistance, feasibility studies, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment. "
In its Tsunami Recovers and Reconstruction
USTDA mobilized a substantial package of technical assistance, training and other capacity building activities in India, Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Thailand following the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami for over $2 million
Under Emergency Communications, USTDA has initiated management plans,
Disaster Management Plan and Technology Strategy, Disaster Early Warning Capacity Building and Systems Integration,
Strategic Advisory and ICT Systems, Disaster Warning Systems Integration and Capacity Development, Asia-Pacific All-Hazards Workshop,
Southeast Asia Regional Disaster Communications Management Training
Child Helpline International
A global network of free telephone and outreach services for children and young people thru creating the establishment of toll-free child helplines, and in crisis humanitarian areas a satellite telephone service through TST enabling children to contact a helpline in their own country or a neighboring country.
National Organizations Involved with Emergency Telecommunications
return to index
Belize National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO)
Emergency Telecommunications Training for Belizean Emergency Services
"Emergency Services personnel in Belize will have the opportunity to upgrade their skills and knowledge in Emergency telecommunications at a two-day workshop being hosted by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) and the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO)of Belize.
Canadian Emergency Telecommunications
Industry Canada has the lead role for emergency telecommunications in Canada. Industry Canada:
Maintains plans and exercises for emergency telecommunications at all levels, helps mitigate disruptive effects of emergencies on telecommunications, and helps coordinate provision of public alert service. Ensures availability of telecommunications during periods of system overload or degradation, helps in development of emergency telecommunication courses at Canadian Emergency Preparedness College.
Canada's Public Alert programme
"...seeks to draw attention to new and existing devices providing direct access to government emergency information 24-hours-a-day, with the ability to automatically prompt users with various types of audio and visual cues. The products are sophisticated enough to recognize specific alerts for specific geographic regions, while monitoring emergency conditions at the provincial and national levels. Public alert devices often double as radio receivers or other consumer electronics. In times of emergency, they can be remotely turned on to sound an alarm to alert and even wake up people. They then remain on providing emergency information over regular broadcast frequencies."
"High Probability of Completion (HPC) is a technology Industry Canada is investigating that would enhance the Emergency Telecommunication Service (ETS) currently in place in Canada. HPC would complement the existing Priority Access for Dialing (PAD) in times of emergency. It is intended for extremely stressed network situations, such as natural or man-made disasters, when normal network management tools may not be able to handle the high volume of traffic or when the demand exceeds network capacity, and when essential emergency response communications are crucial.
While PAD provides dial tone to designated essential lines on the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), there is no methodology in place today that would extend the priority beyond the local switch. In response to this ETS gap in the current priority access system, Industry Canada is studying ways of making an essential user's call identifiable as a priority from the instant it leaves the local switch to the moment it reaches its destination. HPC would not guarantee the completion of a call, but would rather increase its probability of completion."
Initiatives: PAD, HPC, Stimulation of growth of new public alerting solutions, WPS (Wireless Priority Service) authorized for key government and critical industry personnel who have PSEP or continuity of government responsibilities. Info on Access: Who and How
Government Emergency Telecommunications System (GETS)
Established and commissioned in January 1995, the Government Emergency Telecommunications System or GETS is a satellite-based telecommunications system purposely intended to serve as a mean of communications of concerned government agencies during times of emergencies, calamities, and disasters. It has a Hub Station located at TELOF Central Office in Quezon City, and thirty two (32) VSAT stations strategically located in municipalities that are frequented by natural calamities, based on statistical records of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD). A VSAT station is basically equipped with two telephone lines, one (1) for voice and the other for facsimile or data transmission. Further, the Hub Station is equipped with a PABX that was provided with four (4) PSTN trunklines, and serves as access points of related government agencies in establishing communications link with any remote VSAT stations.
U.S. Public safety and Homeland Security response
FCC Emergency Telecommunications Programs highlighting (TSP) Telecommunications Service Priority Program, prioritizes telecommunication services supporting national security or emergency preparedness missions
(GETS) Government Emergency Telecommunications Service, supports federal, state, local government, industry, non-profit organizations in National Security and Emergency Preparedness (NS/EP) missions
(WPS) Wireless Priority Service, National Communications System (NCS) program for priority cellular network access.
NVOAD National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
"NVOAD coordinates planning efforts by many voluntary organizations responding to disaster. Member organizations provide more effective and less duplication in service by getting together before disasters strike. Once disasters occur, NVOAD or an affiliated state VOAD encourages members and other voluntary agencies to convene on site. This cooperative effort has proven to be the most effective way for a wide variety of volunteers and organizations to work together in a crisis"
Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) "a National Communications System (NCS) emergency phone service provided by the Department of Homeland Security. For use when normal lines are congested providing
emergency and priority access within the normal public telephone network (PSTN) and supports government at all levels, critical sectors of industry, and non-profit organizations performing critical (NS/EP) functions in performing their National Security and Emergency Preparedness (NS/EP) missions. Details of the types of users able to utilize this service are given on the site.
WERT Wireless Emergency Response Team Connect the best minds and resources of the wireless industry
to the most vital needs of subscribers in an emergency by providing, wireless expertise, technology and infrastructure for SAR, research and reporting to government, industry and public,
Conducting focused and reporting key learnings to industry, government and the public, emergency guidance to 911 centers, law enforcement, wireless service providers.
The Partnership for Public Warning "...seeks to bring together representatives of all the many and diverse stakeholders in the United States to work toward a resolution of national standards, protocols and priorities that will assure the right information is delivered in a timely manner to people at risk from disaster, be it natural or people induced, so that they are enabled to act knowledgeably to save lives, reduce losses and speed recovery."
The Metropolitan Emergency Response & Logistical Information Network Informational and support service currently in the Northeast Quadrant of the U.S.
"To provide technical assistance, equipment and manpower to those organizations and agencies which will be active in performing missions of humanitarian aid during time of disaster. Further, to foster a spirit of cooperation between those organizations and agencies who may be called upon to provide assistance in disaster planning, preparedness, mitigation, response, relief and/or recovery."
"In short, we prefer to provide oversight management and interfacing, equipment which can be placed into direct use by the members of the organization(s) involved and training to allow those organizations to work at their own pace..." Although serves only part of U.S., resources links are national.
Emergency Telecommunications (EMTEL) An effort within ETSI to promote and support standardization activities on emergency telecommunications.
"Interoperability and interfacing of services and systems are of paramount importance in emergency telecommunications. Authorities and public safety organizations must be able to communicate across services, and ideally also across borders, to ensure the efficiency and safety of their personnel..."
ETSI (The European Telecommunications Standards Institute) Special Call Handling Special Report: Requirements for communication of citizens with authorities/organizations in case of distress.
Details on Emergency Call Services (pdf) covering the following:
"Requirements for communication of citizens with authorities/organizations in case of distress (emergency call handling)";
"Requirements for communication between authorities/organizations during emergencies";
"Requirements for communications from authorities/organizations to the citizens during
Requirements definition for emergency call handling (SR 002 180)
Collecting the European Regulatory Principles (SR 002 299).
Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) v. 1.0 OASIS Standard 200402, March 2004. Provides the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) for Emergency messaging across different types of emergency alerting systems to provide seamless integrating of diverse warning technologies and to establish a messaging format which will increase verification, understandability, use on different analysis systems, and provide for speed of communication.
The document provides purpose, structure of the CAP alert message, applications of the CAP alert message, terminology, design principles and concepts, alert message structure (normative), and includes appendices and basic XML examples of the message unit.
Wikipedia list of links to Draft ITU-T Action Plan for Standardization on
Telecommunications for Disaster Relief and Early Warning (TDR/EW)
EGERIS European Generic Emergency Response Information System, the forerunner of OASIS, to improve efficiency and provide for interoperability of different regional and national European authorities. Gives a list of the original participants.
A brief description of the EGERIS project from Virtual Medical World Monthly.
European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)
Officially recognized by the European Commission and the EFTA secretariat, it is responsible for standardization of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) uniting 688 members from 55 countries inside and outside Europe. It plays a role in the development of standards and technical documentation toward worldwide ICT. Standardization, by keeping abreast of new developments and the interests of all parties, different platforms, practices, languages and fonts in use worldwide, attempts to create a uniform basis for
the exchange of information.
ETSI - Methods for Testing and Specification (MTS) Provides a number of freely available downloads relating to standardization, testing, requirements, etc. Other available materials are available to members.
ETSI Standards-making; Technical quality criteria for telecommunications standards
Online Resources on Emergency Communication regulateonline.org - World Dialogue on Regulation.
World Dialogue on Regulation
"WDR will facilitate the transformation of regulation to provide both a foundation of support and a catalyst for development of network economies in both developing and developed countries."
Next Generation Technology and Standardization ITU-T / ATIS Workshop March 2006
Emergency Services and Priority Signaling. One of seminar papers.
ISO/TC 211 Geographic information/Geomatics
Standardization in the field of digital geographic information
through establishing a "...structured set of standards for information concerning objects or phenomena that are directly or indirectly associated with a location relative to the Earth.
These standards may specify, for geographic information, methods, tools and services for data management (including definition and description), acquiring, processing, analyzing, accessing, presenting and transferring such data in digital/electronic form between different users, systems and locations. "
The Platform for the Promotion of Early Warning (PPEW)
of the UN/ISDR International Strategy for Disaster Reduction "...will help the development of early warning and preparedness systems by (i) advocating for better early warning systems, especially in development assistance policy and programs, (ii) collecting and disseminating information on best practices, and (iii) stimulating cooperation among early warning actors and the development of new ways to improve early warning systems"
List of sites internationally which are relevant to early warning of disasters
Platform For the Promotion of Early Warning - International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
by type of organization and type of natural event warning
Building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters
Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters (HFA) by ISDR. Downloadable document [English Spanish]
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings Updated September 2005
describes the EAS, and details progress, proposals and planned changes. The system is
managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) jointly
with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in cooperation with the National
Weather Service (NWS) which is part of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The NOAA/NWS weather radio system has been upgraded to an all-hazard warning capability. Ways
to improve the NOAA network and the planned broader-based EAS.
(Humanitarian Early Warning Web Service) This web service
displays the latest forecasts, alerts and reports on droughts, floods, tropical storms, locust
infestations, El Nino, earthquakes and volcanic activity.
Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC)
in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, provides warnings for Tsunamis to most countries in the Pacific Basin as well as to Hawaii and all other US interests in the Pacific outside of Alaska and the US West Coast. Those areas are served by the West Coast / Alaska Tsunami Warning Center (WC/ATWC) in Palmer, Alaska. PTWC is also the warning center for Hawaii's local and regional tsunamis."
West Coast & Alaska Tsunami Warning Center NOAA U.S. National Weather Service
Mobile Phones for Disaster Preparedness Annenberg Research Network on International Communication. Includes 'Requirements for Mobile Phones as an Early Warning System' and references.
Concept Paper on Emergency Communications during Natural Disasters: Infrastructure and Technology Communications before, during and after. Identification of modifications needed in communication infrastructure and the protocols needed to obtain, transmit, and receive warning signals. Broadband Mobile Communications Research Lab, Asian Institute of Technology, Bankok, Thailand
The Cellular Emergency Advisory Service Association is
an international nonprofit citizens action initiative
enabling use of cell broadcasting(CB), a function of most modern digital mobile phone systems, such as GSM UMTS and CDMA in a multinational and multi-lingual
environment. It in an all-at-once text message server in a disaster to many cells as against what SMS
does one-at-a-time to one cell. Gives map of member countries.
ICTs and early warning Policy statement at Taipei conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), 26-29 July 2005 Rohan Samarajiva, Executive Director of LIRNEasia
Disaster Warnings: The Problem of the Last Step Reaching the Hardest-to-Reach With Critical Information Early Warning Systems – A Public Entity Risk Institute Symposium "No matter what technology is used to generate a disaster warning and how the warning is transmitted from the originating center to local officials, the warning is useless unless it reaches the individuals who need to take action. It not only must reach them, it must be in language that they understand and it must come from a trusted source. Otherwise, they will not shelter in place, evacuate, go to a tornado safe area, show up for an inoculation or quarantine, or do whatever it is that officials advise them to do."
Partnership for Public Warning (PPW) defunct but website currently maintained for its valuable information resources by the Mitre Corporation
Tsunami Warning Systems
- Status on NOAA's Plan to Strengthen the U.S. Tsunami Warning Program
- Committee on Earth Observations Satellites CEOS
"disaster knowledge and prevention through the reduction or avoidance of risks; disaster preparedness and forecasting; emergency response, based on the severity of the damage, relief, recovery and reconstruction.
"Hazards are characterised by information on geology, tectonics, seismicity, regimes of rivers and their water basins, amount & characteristics of fuel, local meteorological conditions, terrain and topography. Vulnerability depends highly on the location of residential areas and urban centres and assets such as hospitals, schools, plants, road and utility networks, and the likely effect of a given disaster."
"Disaster reduction and risk management has moved rapidly up the policy agenda of affected governments and the international community. This trend has led to the adoption of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) by governments to promote implementation of the recommendations emanating from the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR, 1990-1999). The World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR), Kobe, Japan (January 2005) is a milestone event to increase the profile of disaster risk reduction in development planning and practice."
- Disaster Mitigation
The potential for using satellite information can be gleaned from the pages of CEOS.
- UNOSAT satellite imagery for all. provides commercially acquired satellite imagery and geographic info to reduce disasters and plan development through
assistance in imagery selection, processing, mapping, guidance in methodology and technical matters, and training.
Respond is an international alliance of European and International organisations
to improve access to maps, satellite imagery and geographic information for the humanitarian community for better deployment of development aid and identifying crisis.
This includes Support services - training & in field support, and support to forecasting & Alert services.
- OCHA UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs and UNITAR UN Institute for Training and Research organise a Symposium on Enhancing Emergency Response by leveraging satellite applications. Dec 14 2005
- Cospas-Sarsat [ French Russian and English] In cooperation with other international organizations, provides satellite distress alert and location data to the international community in assisting
search and rescue on an international basis on a non-discriminatory basis. Worldwide – Over 18,500 Persons Rescued (since 1982)
- SARSAT - NOAA
Satellite aided tracking system in support of search and rescue though the use of beacons to low-earth and geostationary satellites
Tracking is provided through Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) for maritime use , emergency locator Transmitter (ELT) for aviation use, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) used for land-based applications
NOAA operates the Search And Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT) System to detect and locate mariners, aviators, and recreational enthusiasts in distress almost anywhere in the world at anytime and in almost any condition.
SARSAT is part of Cospas-Sarsat International search and rescue
- OOSA Index of Online Documents United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. Documents in Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish
- Why Satellite Communications are an Essential Tool for Emergency Management and Disaster Recovery a white paper "...basic facts about satellite communications that are available to support any emergency requirement. Further, the White Paper aims to facilitate those organizations’ efforts to effectively procure, contract for, and deploy satellite-based emergency management and disaster recovery solutions."
Satellite Communications Satellite-aided Search and Rescue - Improving use of COSPAS-SARSAT Satellite Search and Rescue System (SASR)
- Swinfen Charitable Trust (SCT) The charity facilitates a low cost telemedicine service linking doctors at hospitals in the developing world with leading medical and surgical consultants who generously give free advice. Local doctors can send clinical photos, a patient’s history and any other relevant material (such as X-rays) to the Trust. A secure web-based messaging system is used, see below. This allows referring practitioners access to a panel of over 400 specialists in a wide range of disciplines. The median length of time between receipt of original message and first reply by a specialist consultant is currently 1.8 days." SCT operates in 18 countries. "SCT is willing to provide access to NGOs and aid agencies to the SCT network for free."
- Emergency Response Information Network Regional Network Configuration.
Article describing the network Description of ERIN - Internet + satellite phones = emergency relief
Options To Land Lines Satellite phones, stratalite balloons or plane but smaller area of coverage, cellular phones with sufficient power to reach satellites.
While still too expensive for widespread use by the general public, satellite phones
provide the capability to communicate from anywhere in the world, and are currently lightweight
hand held or laptop computer-sized with (in some cases) a smart card to customize and protect.
Phones support digital voice, fax, data and e-mail communication, position location, short messaging service (SMS), digital facsimile and Caller ID,
and in some cases working as cell phones where wireless or landline capability is present.
It is often the only option when landlines are not available, damaged or calls jammed by call overload although SMS messages often get through where voice does not.
Examples of current use:
- Use by commercial shipping, emergency services, the government, and non-profit organizations particularly when cell towers or down as they were in hurricane damaged areas.
- Satellite phones given to Pakistan for use in earthquake disaster zones.
- Satellite phones given out during 2005 hurricanes in U.S.
Links to media stories of use
- Restoration of telecommunications links
- Hints on staying in touch during a disaster and providing location data
Use of Space Technology for Disaster Management in Western Asia and Northern Africa
Information Note: United Nations/Syria Regional Workshop to be hosted by the General
Organization of Remote Sensing. Describes the use of satellites in emergency communication and
detection including the use of satellite phones.
- The International Amateur Radio Union Emergency Communications Several links provided here. See site for others.
- Emergency Center Of activity frequencies
New international regulations governing the amateur and amateur satellite services by the World Radiocommunication Conference, Geneva, 2003
- Tampere Convention on the Provision of Telecommunication Resources for Disaster Mitigation and Relief Operations Tampere, 18 June 1998
Signatories: 60 ,Parties: 32 Text of Convention
- Where there is no telephone by John R.G. Corbett
"A handbook on short wave radio and LEO satellite communication for missions and aid agencies in developing countries. The book describes how to plan, select, install, operate and maintain a radio telephone network in these countries. It deals with the peculiar and special considerations necessary for reliable operations and will assist both technical and non-technical personnel"
The same author recommends the following for SATPHONES.
communications obtainable from Association of Public Safety Communication Officials (APCO)
- UNHCR Procedure for Radio Communication Gives radio operating procedures and radio checks, emergency signals, procedural words and phonetic alphabet.
- Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES)
"...a public service provided by a reserve (volunteer) communications group within government agencies in times of extraordinary need. During periods of RACES activation, certified unpaid personnel are called upon to perform many tasks for the government agencies they serve. Although the exact nature of each activation will be different, the common thread is communications.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides planning guidance and technical assistance for establishing a RACES organization at the state and local government level."
- Guidance for Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (manual)
- American Radio Relay League, Inc. (ARRL) Courses, handbook, information on emergency communication.
- Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES)
- Self Evaluation Primer of Disaster Communications
Using Internet and Cellular Telephone Services Ham Radio Online
- Emergency Communications links provided by EMTEL
- Emergency Communications - links to organizations and special projects slightly dated list 1998-99 List of links to organizations and emergency notification networks, and online discussion groups, references, radio links.
- EMTEL - European links to emergency telecommunications
- GNIN links
to resources, specific disaster relief resources, news resources and a comprehensive list of partners of GDIN
including Government Sponsored Organizations and Projects, Industry Partners, NGO's, Research Groups, and Universities, many with the type of data needed to perform disaster assessment and recovery.
- Resource links - National Disaster Communications Response Team
- U.S. national and some international.
- Many information Links in the following categories:
Alerts & Emergency Information,
Special Events, Emergency Management Information Sources, Emergency Management Associations, Emergency Communications, News Sources,
Security and Safety, DERA Partners and Project Sponsors
- Emergency Telecommunications
Annotated Bibliography, Updated Edition, July 1999
- Legal Framework For Emergency Communications Pertinent links
- Shortcomings of U.S. public safety warning systems
Emergency Communications: The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings. Updated September 2005 lists a number of shortcomings of U.S. public safety warning systems.
- "Limited distribution channels (e.g., EAS uses broadcast and cable,
NWR is closely linked to radio).
- Limited interoperability among separately administered networks
(e.g., EAS messages provide some commonality but there is no
coordination for activating all networks with the same alert).
- Insufficient clarity regarding the responsibility for transmitting
- Limited flexibility in responding to new types of emergencies.
- Limited ability to identify levels of danger and provide direction for
actions to be taken by the general public; there are shortcomings
both in the capacity of technology to relay detailed messages and in
planning for consistency and coherence.
- Limited reach in distance, in time, and in culturally-aware
- Insufficient solutions to reach the handicapped or impaired.
- Inadequate back-up and redundancy.
- Lack of contingency planning.
- Insufficient ability to define, recognize and contact virtual
- Insufficient attention to the deployment of new technologies and the
encouragement of public-private partnerships."
- Handbook on Emergency Telecommunications (French, Spanish, English) ITU publication. Certain part of publication available for free download. Download
- ReliefWeb's Bibliography covers an extensive annotated bibliography and the legal framework of emergency telecommunications.
- Emergency Preparedness – If Not Now, Then When?
President Application Technology Strategy, Inc.
- Links Operational and Technical Information for Practitioners under ReliefWeb's Emergency Telecommunications. Very helpful listing of available materials
- World Conference on Disaster Reduction Jan 2005 Kobe, Hyogo, Japan. Lear agencies: OCHA, WFP
PDF papers on emergency telecommunication available for download
Telecommunication Saves Lives: Role of Information and Communication Technologies in Disaster Reduction
Dr. Cosmas L. ZAVAZAVA , Head, Unit for Least Developed Countries ITU Focal Point for Emergency Telecommunications Telecommunication Development Bureau International Telecommunication Union (ITU). This presentation highlights the ongoing work by the International Telecommunication Union in the area of Emergency Telecommunications.
Keeping People Connected, Keeping People Safe
Mr. Samer HALAWI, Regional Director Africa and Middle East Inmarsat Limited. Explains the role of satellite communications in disaster reduction providing Case Studies of past deployments.
ICT in Disaster Reduction and the Japanese Challenge for Global Standard
Professor Toshio OBI Director, ITU-Waseda ICT Center.
Telecommunications Saves Lives World Summit on the Information Society and Disaster Reduction
Mr. Gary FOWLIE, Chief of Media Relations and Public Information International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Presents why the current efforts to establish an inclusive World Information Society under the World Summit on the Information Society contribute to Disaster Reduction.
- Papers on telecommunication in development countries Development Gateway [French Spanish English].
- Main page for papers, conferences
Why Satellite Communications are an Essential Tool for Emergency Management and Disaster Recovery. A White Paper
by Futron Corporation and GVF, the non-profit association of the global satellite communications sector.
sets forth basic facts about satellite communications available to support any emergency requirement, and facilitate efforts to effectively procure, contract for, and deploy satellite-based emergency management and disaster recovery solutions.
- Disaster Communications covering satellite systems, HF radio, types of power, legal issues, local communications. Online book (1996) very detailed of the field and giving
a great deal of information both pros and cons for each element discussed. A very good place to start.
Global Cross-Border Circulation Of Radiocommunication Equipment In Emergency And Disaster Relief Situations ITU study Group 2001 discussion "...identifying the technical and operational basis for global cross-border circulation of radiocommunication equipment in emergency and disaster relief situations." Gives a short history of other agreements and activities in area.
- Preparedness for Effective Response Thematic Discussion Paper, World Conference on Disaster Reduction, Kobe 2005
OCHA, WFP with the support of UN/ISDR. Excellent summary and basis for discussion of the current situation
of emergency preparedness and early warning identifying the different resources or lack thereof involved in any
advancement in future action and implementation.
- Replicatability of a Microfinance Approach to Extending Telecommunications Access report provided by Regulateonline.org
A research report prepared by LIRNEasia associates Malathy Knight-John, Ayesha Zainudeen & Abu-Saeed Khan.
Available as download. Quote from the Executive Summary: "The VP program has been successful in providing access to telecommunications to over 45 percent of the villages in Bangladesh through providing microfinance to villagers to purchase a mobile phone and a GrameenPhone connection, which is then operated as a payphone, providing access to fellow villagers for a charge. This is particularly impressive in a country that had 3.44 telecom (fixed plus mobile) subscribers per one hundred inhabitants in 2004. The VP program has been hailed as a unique case in the development of rural telecom infrastructure."
- Mobilizing information and communications technologies for effective disaster warning provided by Regulateonline.org
Written by Rohan Samarajiva, Executive Director of LIRNEasia.
Discusses the potential for early warning systems and the conditions leading to absence of institutions necessary.
List of questions to be studied by ITU-T Study Group 16 during the 2005-2008 Study Period
APEC - Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
APT - Asia Pacific Telecommunity
ARRL - American Radio Relay League, Inc.
CAP - Common Alerting Protocol for emergency messaging across different types of emergency alerting systems
CDERA - Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency
DERA - The International Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response Association
DWS - Disaster Warning Systems of APEC
EAS - Emergency Alert System U.S.
ECHO - European Community Humanitarian Office
EIS - Emergency Information System over a communication infrastructure supporting voice and data exchange through a robust and standardised messaging service
EGERIS - European Generic Emergency Response Information System, the forerunner of OASIS which supports seamless transmission of orders, information, reports and requests between fixed nodes and mobile nodes
EMTEL - Emergency Telecommunications
ETS - Emergency Telecommunications Service
ETSI - The European Telecommunications Standards Institute
FCC - Federal Communications Commission U.S.
FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency U.S.
GDIN - Global Disaster Information Network
GETS - Government Emergency Telecommunications Service U.S., supports federal, state, local government, industry, non-profit organizations in National Security and Emergency Preparedness (NS/EP) missions
GETS - Government Emergency Telecommunications System - Japan, satellite based telecommunications system
ICT - information and communication technologies
ISDR - International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN) by governments to promote implementation of the recommendations emanating from the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR, 1990-1999)
ITU - International Telecommunication Union (telcomm)
ITU-T Standards Section of ITU
MTCCs - Mobile Telecommunication Community Centres
NCS - National Communications System U.S.
NENA - National Emergency Number Association
NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration U.S.
NS/EP - National Security and Emergency Preparedness
NVOAD - National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster "...coordinates planning efforts by many voluntary organizations responding to disaster
NWS - National Weather Service U.S.
OASIS - Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards is a not-for-profit, international consortium that drives the development, convergence, and adoption of e-business standards. Developed CAP - Common Alerting Protocol for emergency messaging
OCHA - Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
PPEW - The Platform for the Promotion of Early Warning
PSTN - Public Switched Telephone Network
SDO - Standards Development Organizations in Emergency Telecommunications
TDR/EW - Telecommunications for Disaster Relief and Early Warning
Tampere Convention - agreement between nations to facilitate international cooperation to mitigate the impact of disasters
TSP - Telecommunications Service Priority Program, prioritizes telecommunication services supporting national security or emergency preparedness missions
VOICE - Voluntary Organisations in Cooperation in Emergencies - main NGO interlocutor with the European Community on humanitarian aid
WFP - World Food Programme
WGET - The Working Group on Emergency Telecommunications related to Convention between member States
WPS - Wireless Priority Service, National Communications System (NCS) program for priority cellular network access
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