Maine emergency exercise shows areas for improvement in technology and communications
| 01.09.2007 | 06:45:39 | Views: 2519 | ID:
January 9: The Bangor Daily News reported recently that emergency communications exercises in Maine were slowed by faulty technology, poor connection between communications lines and a contingency plan which was "suboptimal" according to the exercise's officials.
Event organizers said the faulty communications and technological failures showed the necessity for first responders and local and state government officials to create robust technology and emergency response plans as well as the importance of "being able to communicate efficiently - or at all - with other responders in the event of a large-scale emergency," the Maine daily reported.The exercise, "a ... disaster drill involving seven hospitals and several emergency management agencies in northern and eastern Maine" also included 150 participants. Problems emerged in the exercise early on when a technological glitch failed to notify the participants, while a backup plan that "involved having someone dial each individual number by hand" was not time effective, organizers said. Kathy Knight of the Northeaster Maine Regional Resource Center told the Bangor Daily News, "The good thing was realizing how really important that [conference call] was going to be ... Regardless of the failures, we learned it's an essential part of the plan." Organizers said that above all else - technology only serves as a means to communicate and that it is up to the first responder, hospital worker, or state or local official to know how to use the technology or to think outside the box in order to create an effective way to send important information to other responders when conventional communications lines are down.
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