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Natural disasters and emergencies come up unexpectedly. Therefore, preparation and contact during those emergencies is extremely important. Specially made technology can aid in consistent real-time communication during disasters.
The top forms of critical communication during emergencies and natural disasters are social media, cell phones, landline phones, satellite phones, two-way radios, citizens-band radio, and amateur radio (ham). However, when it comes to reliable real-time communication, any form of critical communications radio, rugged phone, and accessories are the best options especially for emergency responders.
Real-time communication is a powerful tool during natural disasters. Emergencies—especially ones like tornadoes, hurricanes, and blizzards—can breakdown normal methods of communication like standard cell phones. Therefore, critical communication technology like two-way radios and the corresponding accessories are a necessity.
Efficient communication is important in emergency situations because first responders need to be in contact with one another. With efficient communication, responders can warn each other about potential hazards or people who need specialized help. Moreover, proper communication allows for emergencies to be assessed and attacked safely.
Natural disasters and emergencies can be managed safely and efficiently with real-time communication through devices like satellite telephones, other radio bands, and radio communication earpieces.
The Significance of Real-time Communication in Natural Disasters and Emergencies
Timely communication is a priority for emergency responders during disasters. In emergencies, time is equivalent to saving lives. For instance, when emergency responders are evacuating victims and survivors, the workers need to be able to communicate with one another. This way, the necessary help can be notified.
There are many obstacles during disasters and emergencies specifically with communication. Weather emergencies can easily break down normal methods of communication. For instance, cell towers can get damaged, everyday technology is not made to be waterproof, shock-proof, etc, and environments can be noisy making it hard to hear communication.
Two-way radios and satellite phones work on technology that is not as quickly dismantled in natural disasters. Critical communication radios are made to work in areas with little to no service. Moreover, they are often made to IP67 ratings meaning the devices can:
- Be submerged in water
- Withstand large amounts of smoke/dust
- Endure shocks to the system (“shock” can refer to the radio being dropped on the ground or in water etc.)
- Operate in significantly low/high environmental temperatures
Because two-way radios are built to these specifications, emergency responders can be confident that their source of real-time communication will not be impacted within the harsh environment and terrain they are saving lives.
Real-time communication with these durable devices allows emergency responders to get real updates and advice to navigate dangerous situations.
B. Discuss the challenges faced in communication during high-stress situations and unpredictable environments
Emergency responders need real-time communication because of the challenges they face in these unpredictable environments. There are three main challenges most responders experience when communicating during emergencies:
Responding to a natural disaster means extremely long hours. Most emergency workers operate in 10+ hour shifts and take a break for only half that time before beginning their next shift.
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Consequently, their form of communication technology needs to be able to work these long hours. Technology like two-way radios and satellite phones use batteries that are made to work for long periods of time and quickly reach a full charge after depletion.
The next major obstacle emergency workers experience when communicating is working with other teams’ technology. During natural disasters many different teams and organizations come together to help the impacted communities. For instance, when 9/11 occurred, fire and police departments from all over the United States responded.
A major concern is how will the teams who have different radios communicate? Emergency responders should employ the use of multi-band two-way radios because this technology allows for all different radios to operate together. Multi-band technology enables teamwork amongst different departments.
The last challenge workers face is noise; this word can mean two things during a disaster/emergency response. It can refer to when too many people are trying to talk at once on team communication or when the environment workers are in is loud from machinery, weather, etc.
Technology like communication earpieces help cancel out this challenge by providing environmental listening and clear audio when teammates are speaking.
When creating solutions to the challenges emergency responders face during natural disasters, two-way radios and the corresponding accessories are the answer.
Communication Earpieces: Enhancing Communication Efficiency
A communication earpiece is a vital tool for real-time communication. These tools are considered extremely useful for emergency responders in different situations. This accessory can be helpful during any emergency ranging from a hurricane aftermath to an active shooter.
Critical communication earpieces are made to be low-profile, connect to two-way radios, be comfortable, and enable easy listening. Because earpieces are low-profile, they can be used in covert situations like active shooters. Motorola earpieces can be ordered with clear tubing and connectors making it easy to conceal the device. Although small, the earpiece’s technological abilities are not compromised.
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Earpieces are meant to be used in long-wearing situations, so manufacturers designed them to be extremely comfortable. Many come with gel inserts and have an over-the-ear attachment to minimize irritation.
This accessory also can connect directly to your two-way radio so all communication the radio receives will be transmitted through your communications earpiece. When hearing information through an earpiece rather than a two-way radio speaker, there is a higher probability the listener will hear the message properly.
Additionally, Motorola earpieces for critical communication users are designed with environmental listening. Emergencies often involve loud noise, like machinery, crowds, and weather—all of which can interrupt clear communication. Although, blocking those noises out would allow a listener to hear only the communication—which sounds optimal—that would be a dangerous feature for emergency responders.
If emergency responders cannot hear anything from one ear, they lose their situational awareness for the present location. Environmental listening will block out present noise that is above a certain decibel marker so communication through the earpiece is not overpowered. However, listeners will still maintain situational awareness.
A communications earpiece also allow for hands-free communication which is extremely important during disasters. Emergency workers need to have their hands available to navigate disaster areas and physically help those affected whilst still communicating. For instance, some earpieces can attach cables directly to the shoulder and are listening only so to hear communication, the user does not have to touch anything.
There are some earpieces that offer more than just listening. Some radio earpieces are designed with a special microphone so emergency responders can respond to communication through the earpiece microphone rather than the two-way radios microphone. This added feature simply improves the possibilities of hands-free communication.
Radio Communication Systems: Establishing Connectivity and Coordination
As stated before, two-way radios, especially multi-band, are a primary tool for communication in disasters. Although these devices are considered the most reliable form of real-time communication in a disaster, they still come with obstacles.
For example, having clear channels, proper frequency management, and encryption are all very important. Clear channels allow for organization amongst emergency workers. Channels can be assigned to different departments or for different purposes to help keep veins of information organized.
Radio frequencies can be overloaded just like cellular frequencies. Therefore, those using radios need to manage how many users are operating a frequency at once. If too many are using a frequency, then communication may be interrupted and get staticky.
Lastly, encryption is a crucial step to making radio communications safe and efficient. Encryption ensures that only the necessary personnel can get on the proper channels. This privacy is important in both natural disasters and emergencies.
During natural disasters, workers need their communications to be private to avoid any public panic from miscommunication. During emergencies like active shooters communication needs to be kept private to avoid panic and if the offender still needs to be apprehended.
Training and Protocols for Effective Communication
Using a two-way radio or satellite phone with accessories may seem self-explanatory; nevertheless, first responders and emergency workers must be trained in how to use this critical communication technology. Training allows workers to practice how to use the equipment outside of a stressful situation.
This way, when they do need to use critical communications technology in a stressful situation then they feel more prepared. Regular drills and exercises ensure proficiency in utilizing the communication tools properly during crises.
During natural disasters and emergencies there are already numerous uncontrollable factors; therefore, training how to use communication technology eliminates any unnecessary obstacles.
Natural disasters and real-life emergencies like active shooters are scary because they are unpredictable. Utilizing the proper communication tools like two-way radios, satellite telephones, and their corresponding accessories, creates a safer and more efficient environment for both emergency responders and survivors of these unpredictable situations.
Accessories like earpieces help emergency workers have clear communication from environmental listening, hands free communication, and uninterrupted transmissions. Real-time communication poses great significance to emergency workers. With real-time communication, first responders can be aware of their surroundings and contact the necessary personnel to assess and attack every situation efficiently and effectively.
Critical communication manufacturers need to continue to invest in communication technology like two-way radios and a communication earpiece to improve overall public safety and the response to natural disasters.