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Earthquake in Chile Highlights Need for Immediate Emergency Communications During Disasters
April 13, 2010 @ 12:51 PM | By Contributing Writer

On February 27, the world saw another disaster—the second in as many months—when a series of earthquakes struck Chile, threatening tsunamis for most nations on the Pacific Coast, including the islands of Hawaii. When a disaster of this magnitude hits, emergency communications become critical for nations and individuals to receive the assistance they need.

During the Haiti earthquakes, a company called Intelstat established satellite communications, permitting cell phone communications as well as broadband Internet connectivity. More recently, when Chile was hit by an 8.8 earthquake, residents sent reports to BBC through email and Twitter.

Internet-Based Emergency Communications

Web conferencing over the Internet can add another element to important emergency communications, with real-time, face-to-face communications taking place with no more infrastructure than is required for email. Immediate responses are critical—and may even be a matter of life or death—in the event of an emergency. Other communication systems, including cell phone and email, fill certain purposes, but Web conferencing permits large groups of leaders to brainstorm solutions, make plans, and execute life-saving initiatives immediately.

It's easy to establish communication systems with Software as a Service (SaaS) web conferencing solutions—all that's needed is a laptop, desktop computer, or even a smartphone with Internet access. Imagine real-time reports, web cam images, and powerful graphics showing areas that need help the most.

Immediate Results with Web-Based Communication Systems

Web communication systems can also act as a powerful advocacy tool; a picture is worth a thousand words, but a live video showing how people can help—and exactly what their donations of time, money or living necessities can do—will move people to action immediately.

Emergency communications are all about immediacy—immediate action for immediate results. There is no medium more immediate than live audio and video conferencing over the Web.

Dawn Allcot is a business and technology writer whose work has been published in the audiovisual and communications industry for more than 15 years. She writes regularly for Sound & Communications and Worship Facilities magazines, among others. She's covered teleconferencing and streaming video systems for publications such as theWAHMmagazine, a digital magazine for the work-at-home industry, and Church Production Magazine.

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