Of course, another valuable source of expertise and insight comes from those working in the emergency support function (ESF) across the public sector. Earl Struble, senior manager of Verizon Frontline Crisis Response Team and Mission Critical Communications, said the company maintains an ongoing dialogue that helps build intelligence and capabilities to stay one step ahead of extreme conditions.
"Our trusted partnership with the first responder community is based on the cumulative knowledge sharing between the public and private space" he said. "Each time we respond together with our first responders, we learn and share that data to improve our next response."
Innovations in technology are also enhancing the situational awareness before a major incident occurs. Struble, who has worked closely with public safety agencies for nearly 30 years, pointed to the Internet of Things (IoT), where sensors placed on equipment can help provide an early warning when machines get broken or affected by adverse events. Verizon 5G edge and multi-access edge computing (MEC), meanwhile, can help accelerate the process of preparing for an emergency by enhancing the response and recovery abilities for first responders.
"Traditionally, sending someone into the field to collect data required finding an area with good cellular coverage for cloud upload and processing," he said. "In public safety, quicker access to data, means more intelligent responses from first responders, enabling faster assistance to people in need and potentially saving lives."
Donny foresees a future where technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) will bring an increased ability to plan the necessary resources for responding to a crisis.
"For us, it's all about answering questions like, 'How close we can pre-stage our mobile response assets to where we think the impact is going to be?' and 'How can we keep our people safe?'" she said. "We want to be as swift as possible, and that's where that data from AI becomes critical."
Matthew Tuck, Verizon's senior manager for Network Engineering and Operations, said there is a lot that can also be done to identify potential disasters based on modeling population data. These models can indicate how many people will be affected by a severe weather incident such as a flood. The data can also be combined with an ongoing analysis of potential network vulnerabilities so Verizon can proactively build greater resiliency to protect against disasters.