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
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Links to related pages, see to the left: Emergency Pages, Deal With Natural Hazards, and Disaster Plans and Control Centers

Introduction return to index

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.
International Emergency Numbers
return to index


  • 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.

    [EU Associations]

  • 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 " 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.

    [U.S. Associations]

  • 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 Good coverage. Be sure to see Related Research and Resource Items on their page.

  • ReliefWeb Emergency Telecommunications 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.

  • Tampere Convention
    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."

  • REDUCE "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. Home Site

    [United States]

  • 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.
    Current Standards return to index

  • 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 emergencies"
    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 - 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. "
    Disaster Warning return to index

  • 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]
  • Emergency Communications: 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.
  • HEWSweb (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
  • CEASA 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