Uses of Satellites in Disaster Management
The uses of satellites in disaster management are becoming more integral to reducing reaction time and providing accurate information to rescue and disaster control operations. Satellites are used in disasters for communications, remote sensing and mapping. Meteorological and storm warning satellite technology can help with predicting disasters and setting up precautionary activities. U.S. Landsat Earth-observation satellites collect data in conjunction with NASA and the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to forecast weather-related disasters, manage floods, monitor large fires and determine which areas are at risk for landslides. They can analyze climate changes and map areas for relief operations with the data collected from the satellites.
Satellite communications are increasingly used to transmit information back and forth in remote areas that do not receive cell phone reception. Government agencies and relief organizations can receive up-to-the-minute reports to send help where it’s needed most. In disasters that destroy local infrastructure, satellite communications are the only option for getting information out quickly. Satellite phones are easy to carry and make good portable communications devices. Mobile satellite terminals can easily be set up in disaster zones to facilitate good coverage. The International Telecommunications Union is a division of the United Nations that makes satellite technology available to countries that experience mass disasters and need immediate links set up at the disaster sites.
High-speed Internet access can be switched to satellites in the event of a disaster. Many businesses are incorporating back-up systems that would rely on satellites in the event of a major disaster. First responders can react to communications sent out by a firm that is hooked up to satellite Internet sources. Emergency crews can utilize satellite Internet options when their communications systems are down as a result of a major catastrophe if they are prepared. Real-time audio and visual capabilities can help relief crews locate and respond to emergencies with the proper equipment and resources. Local and state emergency operations should incorporate a back-up satellite program for disasters. As a free public service, the Satellite Industry Association provides public safety and first responder organizations with a guide to using satellite technology in disasters, the equipment needed to set up solid satellite Internet solutions and training in the language and use of the latest equipment. In addition, emergency applications can be integrated into everyday use if the costs are too prohibitive to keep the equipment solely as a back up. High-speed satellite connections can be incorporated into any business or government agency, providing access to the technology when it’s needed most.