Mobility is key to emergency preparedness

Case Study: Mobility Incident Management

The Challenge

Emergency preparedness took on a new sense of urgency in the wake of the anthrax attacks that targeted the nation’s distribution networks. A majority of an agency’s emergency response officials did not have access to computers during parts of the day. One agency needed an immediate mobile solution to connect employees in the field back to its central location so as to coordinate its emergency planning and response activities.

The Solution

Salient CRGT first developed a map depicting how incident information needed to flow across the organization, by determining which employees would need access to the data, how they would effectively access it, and how feedback from the field would be reported to a central location and from there be redistributed back to field personnel. We then implemented a link to the Department of Homeland Security to enable the display of the current threat level within the United States.

We also developed a web-based system with mobile interface to support the processes and goals defined by the agency. Our experts developed and deployed a multi-tiered system (web and mobile) using JAVA, PL/SQL, and XML code bases. We developed the core web application using JAVA, while the mobile components utilized PL/SQL and XML. Additionally, we provided support throughout the agency’s procurement and distribution of additional handheld devices. We assisted in the selection and distribution of appropriate devices, and also the configuration of the devices to receive icon/channel pushes related to necessary processes.

When an emergency occurs, the system automatically provides details of the event to users’ mobile devices so they can indicate if they are available to respond and carry out the duties assigned to them. We designed and developed this system with one overarching goal in mind – to help the agency manage emergency planning and response activities before, during, and after crisis situations.

The Impact

Our mobility capabilities helped this agency:

  • Map organizational need to the most appropriate mobile solutions
  • Connect more than 7,500 employees at headquarters and field offices via a web-based application
  • Mobilize more than 3,200 users via handheld devices
  • Enable the communication of real-time, actionable data so that employees are empowered to take action in the field in times of crisis

The system has become a key tool in the agency’s emergency planning and response activities. Each quarter, an average of 400 events are reported and tracked in the system.

By leveraging mobile technologies, the agency is providing personnel with the real-time access to data that they need to plan for and respond to real emergency events. The system has accomplished many of the agency’s goals, including the centralization of all communications related to crisis responses.

Through integrating with existing agency applications and external business partners, the system has also provided business services for document and user management, data synchronization, and automated mass communication to predefined team structures. This structure enables the operational responders in the field to focus more effectively on managing emergency situations, using mobile tools to streamline information management and communication processes.