There are many challenges to overcome when responding to disasters. Whether the disaster is natural or human-made, all disasters share some common obstacles. If you have ever been involved in a disaster situation, either as a victim or as part of the recovery effort, you know communications are one such hurdle to overcome.
Situational awareness (SA) is a critical component to accomplishing any mission. Without a clear understanding of the physical world around us and how people act within that world, we cannot make informed decisions about our future actions. One of the foundational components of developing SA is reliable and effective communications. Maintaining communications is essential to developing SA and sharing our SA picture with all stakeholders.
The importance of situational awareness (SA) in the tactical environment cannot be understated. From soldiers on the battlefield to law enforcement and other first responders' everyday operations, SA is fundamental to successful operations in any environment. For this reason, anyone involved in this type of work can benefit from a greater understanding of SA.
Every year, people around the world are affected by natural disasters. It seems like when we least expect it, fires, floods, storms, earthquakes, tornados, avalanches, and more strike our communities causing incalculable harm. In the wake of the earth's destructive forces, people are left to help those in disaster areas heal and rebuild. Recent estimates calculate the average number of people killed globally from natural disasters to be around 60,000 every year.
Almost all military, public safety, and search & rescue professionals have had difficulty with communications gear. Common challenges can arise from relying on a single piece of equipment that unexpectantly fails or a lack of trained personnel to utilize available alternative equipment.