• Emergency communicationNo internet? No problem: Improving communications during natural disasters

    Storms like Hurricane Irma and other natural disasters bring with them lots of uncertainty: where will they go, how much damage will they cause. What is certain is that no matter where they strike, natural disasters knock out power. And no power means no internet for thousands of people in affected areas. Researchers are proposing a new way of gathering and sharing information during natural disasters that does not rely on the internet.

  • Emergency communicationFirstNet for emergency communications: Six questions answered

    By Ladimer Nagurney and Anna Nagurney

    In the aftermath of 9/11, public safety officials in New York City and around the country realized that firefighters, police officers and ambulance workers needed to be able to talk to each other at an emergency scene – not just to their supervisors and dispatchers. The solution was nearly sixteen years in coming, but on 30 March, the First Responder Network Authority, or FirstNet, was created. “It’s hard to know what we’ll need in twenty-five years – just as twenty-five years ago, it would have been very hard to envision the technical details of today’s interconnected world,” say two experts. “But building FirstNet will help protect and serve both first responders and the public during emergencies – and it will enhance communications in times of peace and prosperity.”

  • Emergency communicationEmergency communications in developing countries

    When major emergencies strike, effective communication is critical. Hundreds, if not thousands, of lives can be saved by rapid, clear and well-coordinated communication regarding impending risks, their mitigation, and how to respond when damage is done. Researchers have created a best-practice toolkit to help developing countries rapidly generate and implement life-saving communication plans in the event of local emergencies.

  • Emergency communicationsCreating reliable emergency communications networks

    When disaster strikes, it is important for first responders to have reliable, unhindered access to a controlled network, allowing them to receive and deliver critical information while ensuring effective emergency response. Unfortunately this is currently not the case. Due to power outages and cell tower damages, the infrastructure for communications is not readily available during the response to an incident or disaster, and furthermore, the cost of this infrastructure is unreasonable, even for large organizations.

  • First respondersStrengthening security of first responder sensor systems

    Metronome Software is developing a technology solution that will significantly enhance the security of mobile device-based sensor systems used by first responders with funding provided by DHS S&T. The Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) Apex program is integrating multi-threat personal protective equipment, plug-and-play sensors and advanced communications devices to provide multi-layer threat protection and immediate situational awareness to first responders.

  • Emergency communicationTesting communication systems for public safety use

    DHS S&T says that by partnering with first responders to gauge capability gaps and leverage existing technologies, it can develop new technologies, test and evaluate existing technologies, and work with industry and the innovation community to ensure solutions are available to first responder agencies. For example, S&T’s First Responder Group (FRG) recently examined a couple of noteworthy existing communications technologies and evaluated them for public safety use.

  • JammingTesting tactics for mitigating jamming

    Jamming devices are illegal, and may delay emergency response times, escalate hazardous situations, or result in loss of life. Nearly 100 federal, state, and local public safety and private organizations gathered last week to test tactics and technologies to identify, locate, and mitigate illegal jamming of communications systems, such as GPS, radio, and wireless systems.

  • First responders“Social media triangulation” to help emergency responders

    During emergency situations like severe weather or terrorist attacks, local officials and first responders have an urgent need for accessible, reliable and real-time data. Researchers are working to address this need by introducing a new method for identifying local social media users and collecting the information they post during emergencies.

  • Emergency communicationCommunication in times of crisis

    Researchers are experimenting with technologies designed to empower the civilian population in times of crisis. They aim to establish basic communications and means to share information, thus facilitating human cooperation and mutual aid even following wide-spread power and Internet outages.

  • Emergency communicationCreating high-speed internet lane for emergency situations

    In a disaster, a delay can mean the difference between life and death. Emergency responders don’t have time to wait in traffic — even on the congested information superhighway. Researchers are developing a faster and more reliable way to send and receive large amounts of data through the internet. By a creating a new network protocol, called Multi Node Label Routing protocol, researchers are essentially developing a new high-speed lane of online traffic, specifically for emergency information.

  • Emergency communicationAI to aid in humanitarian efforts

    Mobile phones are one of the fastest growing technologies in the developing world with global penetration rates reaching 90 percent. However, the fact that most phones in developing countries are pre-paid means that the data lacks key information about the person carrying the phone, including gender and other demographic data, which could be useful in a crisis. Researchers have developed an AI algorithm to accurately predict the gender of pre-paid mobile phone users, so that emergency response teams would have better information about those affected by disasters.

  • CommunicationSpectrum Collaboration Challenge’s contenders selected

    Unveiled in March 2016, DARPA’s Spectrum Collaboration Challenge (SC2) has reached an early milestone by choosing thirty contenders for the first of the three-phase competition, slated to culminate at the end of 2019 with a live match of finalists who have survived the two preliminary contests. In addition to twenty-two teams from academia and small and large companies, eight individuals have made it into the competition.

  • Battlefield communicationMobile handheld devices to share battlefield information at multiple classification levels

    Troops in remote regions around the world often struggle to operate with limited networks for data sharing and communication—an encumbrance that is amplified when U.S. troops need to share classified or otherwise secure data with each other and coalition partners. DARPA’s Secure Handhelds on Assured Resilient networks at the tactical Edge (SHARE) program aims to create a system where information at multiple levels of security classification could be processed on a single handheld device

  • 9/11: 15 years onDisaster communications: Lessons from 9/11

    By Thomas Terndrup and Nicholas Kman

    What we and the other responders learned on 9/11, under the pressure of a disaster of incredible scale, scope and urgency – not to mention the international media spotlight – went on to spark major changes in U.S. emergency response communication. By ensuring that – no matter what happens – we can communicate with each other, the emergency response community keeps the memory of 9/11 alive in our own way every single day.

  • First responseNIST’s rolling wireless net improves first-responder communications

    First responders often have trouble communicating with each other in emergencies. They may use different types of radios, or they may be working in rural areas lacking wireless coverage, or they may be deep inside large buildings that block connections. NIST has worked with industry partners to integrate commercial technologies into a mobile wireless communications system. About the size of a large file cabinet, the platform offers more capabilities and faster setup than typical “cell on wheels” systems.