Sample MetaScenario: A Category 5 hurricane on the scale of Hurricane Andrew is fast approaching southern Florida, forcing mass evacuations in preparation for landfall. Even as the state takes its normal actions, hospitals across Florida and surrounding states are reporting unusually high numbers of patients exhibiting symptoms of a fatal and fast-spreading illness of unknown origin. Compounding both of these issues is a large population of non-English speaking residents and large elderly and disabled community. Clearly, both the pending hurricane and the rapidly spreading illness are critical priorities. All hospitals are full or in the hurricane path. Forty percent or more of the first responders are, or soon will, exhibit signs of illness, further weakening the resources typically used to help and further taxing the system. As the hurricane makes landfall, 7 million people across Florida are in an evacuation zone. Over 190,000 people are dead from the mystery illness, which is now believed to be food-born and not contagious, but still the source is unknown. Another 265,000 are requiring immediate medical attention. Furthermore, transportation workers, utility workers, and other key response workers are among those impacted by the illness, and are unable to keep up with power outages and other infrastructure failures.

Communications: After reading the above scenario, tell us how you think the private sector could find new and innovative ways to restore the ability to communicate essential information among responders and survivors in the impacted area within the first 72 hours, assuming that typical communications – such as phone lines, cell towers, and satellites, are out of service, intermittent, or overwhelmed.

All of topics are designed to stimulate creative, out-of-the box thinking. We welcome your thoughts, ideas, or suggestions on all of the topics.

Communications

Federal 911 Clearinghouse

As a concerned citizen, I tried to find a way to elevate my concern to the U.S. Government (DHS, FEMA or USCG). After calling DHS and getting the "idiot treatment" I was directed to the regional Coastguard unit which also gave me the "idiot treatment." You need to establish a National 911 Hotline where people can call or email to report concerns. Then maybe the government could be proactive instead of "investigating" ...more »

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Communications

Maximize existing cell phone capabilities

As communications is the most critical capability in response, we need to leverage our existing systems and ensure that they can function in a degraded environment. For example, an open-source project that is being tested (or has been tested) with the Red Cross in New Zealand is called the Serval Project. It allows cell phones to communicate without the use of cell towers. As you know, most cell phones are capable ...more »

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4 votes
7 up votes
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Communications

Veterans Liasion

There needs to be a liasion for veterans who suffer from PTSD as myself. I was laid off. And now understand why. However not understanding certain outcomes which would had prevented this issue. Haveing a liasion who takes charge of Vetrerans disabilities and tracks their work evaluations, credit card usage and how to stay on track would lead to a better staffing of veterans and stop the fireing or lay offs.

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8 votes
8 up votes
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Communications

Emergency Communication Supply Units CS

I have devised an "emergency communication supply unit" that would be an excellent assett for FEMA for just about any disaster area. What it does is ties in with remote repeaters in a town and/or city that are located to that vollunteers use these hand held communcation devices that go thru a receiver then sent out using a stronger signal to the other repeaters then down to other receivers and so on. Also the main communication ...more »

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3 up votes
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Communications

Create Disability Virtual Operations Support Teams

A Disability Virtual Operations Support Team or DVOST is a hybrid take off of the Virtual Operations Support Team (VOST). A DVOST as a team could: • Establish a social media presence for the local or state emergency management agencies that previously did not use social networking tools to communicate with the public, people with disabilities and those with access and functional needs; • Monitors social media communications ...more »

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8 votes
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Communications

Good Communication. Deaf Ears?

Once again our nations ability (or rather the lack there of) to communicate with survivors of catastrophe was crystal clear in the wake of Sandy. Efforts to communicate better integrated systems, hardened structure caches, deployable assets, and such with REAL promise for REAL emergency PREPAREDNESS continue to fall on deaf ears. Response is NOT enough; never has been and never will be - we must be prepared. Why ...more »

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4 up votes
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Communications

Connecting rural hospitals when all else fails

Your amateur radio operators can be a life-saving help when widespread power outages strike. A local amateur radio club or emergency management listing of ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) operators can be conscripted to drive their 2-meter mobile rigs to small-community hospitals to aid in essential communications when all else fails. Here in Southeast Nebraska we have placed amateur transceivers at all our critical-access ...more »

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7 votes
8 up votes
1 down votes

Communications

CERT needs its own radio frequency

CERT teams all over the country use FRS, GMRS or whatever free radios they can find on the market. besides the limited range, everybody can use these kind of radios, so in a disaster every neighbor or even kids can play with these radios and make it impossible for a CERT team to use them and help saving lives. So CERT needs a nation frequency pair, so they can put up their own repeaters and can get radios that will not ...more »

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-12 votes
3 up votes
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Communications

FRS Radios for Emergency Announcements

I recomment that local EOC's establish FRS broadcast messaging similar to the NWS SAME weather radio information services. Granted FRS radios are short range but still very popular. One channel could be dedicated for receiving emergency messages such as road closures or location of fresh water supplies originated by the local EOC/Red Cross during a declared disaster.

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8 up votes
7 down votes

Communications

Wireless is the best answer.

Problem 1: how to communicate with the public. This has to be through something they already have and that is radio. It would be to great advantage for radio stations to be hardened for emergencies like this. If they are the only ones on the air, they have a huge devoted audience and can charge premium dollars to all business that want to advertise their emergency supplies to the public. The week link in radio, is the ...more »

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5 votes
9 up votes
4 down votes

Communications

Contain contact info #

In most cities/counties there will be a call center to address concerns during the disaster/evacuations. It is very helpful to add this number to the emergency call. It's clear, from experience that your residents will not retain all directions and will want to verify, at least part of what they did hear. Locally, we also give the # out, repeatedly on our radio/TV announcements.

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Communications

No Matter How You Say It: Communication Saves Lives

One of my passions is educating and empowering the disability community. COMMUNICATION SAVES LIVES. I decided to go out into the community and speak to varying disability groups, bringing the RIGHT information to them. FEMA has the resources, its important we get it into the right hands. If I was to speak to those who are visually impaired, I needed material in BRAILLE or LARGE PRINT for those who were legally blind. ...more »

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11 votes
12 up votes
1 down votes

Communications

Renewable energy and Emergency Communications2

Utility companies are now introducing Community Solar Programs - paying roof rights for grid-tied solar installations. Put some on the Emergency Ops Ctrs - not for all communications and operations but for "minimum mission critical communication profile". When all gird goes down, we still have minimum profile working. MERS then knows exactly what to expect when they get to devastated area. The EOC will have 4.9Ghz ...more »

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8 votes
9 up votes
1 down votes

Communications

Renewable energy and Emergency Communications

Generators are NOT the answer for Disaster or Emergency communications. Solar and wind can work, but must be designed right. Backup power for cell towers requires far too much power for common sense approach. Must define "minimum mission critical communication profile" for all situations. Who must talk? What frequencies MUST be up? Power those with renewable energy. We have single TRX base stations that run 22 watts ...more »

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12 votes
12 up votes
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Communications

Emergency Communications Kit

Over the past several years, Nevada tribes through the Inter-tribal Emergency Response Commission have developed a portable communications kit that included redundant communications systems. The scenario of all land based communications lost leads directly into this communications kit. It starts with normal radio communications until that capability is lost. Next come the satellite phone. But for more dispersed communications ...more »

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3 votes
9 up votes
6 down votes

Communications

Sky Messaging

Unless the sky is falling, why not leverage aircraft (i.e., fleet of blimps, planes, helicopters, remote controlled aircraft) to perform the following: Before Disaster Strikes 1) Attach oversized banners to aircraft to display messages overhead to the population below indicating an impending disaster on the area and where to go for additional information/guidance. 2) Drop critical supplies that we know will be essential ...more »

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-1 votes
12 up votes
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Communications

Meta Scenario - Communications

Implement the mobilization of numerous HyperSpike MA-Series mass notification deployable assets. http://www.perpetualsolutionsgroup.com/index.html#MASeries Unlike typical transducer technologies one of these devices can effectively notify miles of area with intelligible voice messages prerecorded or in real-time. Mobile deployable assets are great however having a hardened infrastructure already in place is best. ...more »

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Communications

Whole Community: Preparing for the Unthinkable-Communications

We need to tap into all social-media, including crowdsourcing, Private Industry has recognized the value of two-way exchanges with their customers- and we can learn from them, in the emergency management and emergency preparedness arena. Our citizens are intelligent sensors, when equipped with social networking tools -we need to develop transparent and acceptable practices to empower individuals and community groups ...more »

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13 votes
16 up votes
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