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How Connectivity Plays a Role in Emergency Situations

In emergency situations, reliable connectivity is imperative to cross-communicate efficiently. First responders, medical personnel, and other public safety officials should be able to transfer and process private patient data in a secure and reliable digital environment. Unfortunately, the difference between reliable and unreliable networks can be the difference between life and death. Public safety personnel are working to ensure they utilize proper connectivity solutions to maintain high standards and most importantly to help save lives.

The unpredictability of an emergency situation makes immediate response necessary in every situation. Emergency situations require an aggregation of services to enforce the flow of data and the ability for institutions to scale up as digital transformation accelerates. The services include secure data center space for infrastructure, wireline/wireless connectivity and more. We will walk through a use case scenario of a natural disaster and how connectivity plays a role from the moment someone calls in the emergency to the patient’s hospital stay.


The use case scenario starts with an emergency call to a local dispatcher to report tornado destruction in a residential area. The caller sees “No network signal” on their cell phone but knows they can still make emergency calls. How does this work? When our cellphones lose signal, it’s from our direct wireless provider. When we make an emergency call, it will automatically connect to the strongest network it can find to let the emergency call go through. It’s important to note that since we wouldn’t be connected to our direct network, we wouldn’t be able to make or receive other calls.

When the caller dials 911 (a nationally used number) the cell signal from their device pinpoints as close as a 50-yard radius to their location in order to ring their local emergency dispatchers.

Now back to the caller: the caller tells the dispatcher there has been destruction in their neighborhood due to the tornado and there could be people trapped under the debris of the house. The caller then gives their exact location, details on what they can see, and their identification. Emergency call centers rely on wireless carriers to provide a signal to pinpoint the location if the caller is unable to do so. These wireless carriers are supported by infrastructure and fiber network providers by offering internet and transport services.

The dispatcher then sends notification to first responders with full details collected from the call – the location, details of the scene, and who made the call – to properly prepare the first responders to acquire the right equipment, know who to go to for more information, and more. Most public safety agencies have specialized equipment and vehicles utilizing communications technology. While the first responders are on their way to the location, the dispatcher can keep track of their location – with GPS technology – until they arrive on scene.

Once the first responders arrive on scene, they will evaluate the situation. First responders have many details to account for such as safety of the victims, safety of their team, bystanders, and more. They find the best way to divide and conquer to cover all their bases.

In this situation it looks like many homes were destroyed during the tornado, but most people are safe. A group of first responders start to address survivors while another small group of first responders find a few victims under debris from a destroyed home. No lives were lost, but the victims were badly injured and need medical attention as soon as possible.

The paramedics take each victim in a different ambulance and rush to the nearest hospital. While they’re on their way, the public safety officials send the victims’ vitals to the hospital so the nurses can best prepare for the new patient’s arrival and give them the critical care they need. The timely ambulance-to-hospital communication is possible through mobile technology with low-latency, whether it’s utilizing WiFi or 5G technology.

No time can be wasted when it comes to emergency situations. Prior to this technology, patients would arrive at the hospital and the doctors and nurses would have to check notes and ask questions before providing care. We now have dedicated personnel and wireless telecommunications to thank for this efficient process. When the hospital receives this information, they will be able to provide proper, immediate care to the patient. At the end, all patients survived due to the quality care of the first responders, medical personnel, and the reliable connectivity utilized in this use case scenario.


Service and infrastructure providers in the telecom industry help provide reliable connectivity to public safety agencies in order to cross-communicate effectively in emergency situations. This communications technology, such as dark fiber, provides reliable connectivity which equips first responders and medical personnel to help save lives. We also find that the telecom industry can utilize fiber optic mapping, telecom infrastructure data, and other analytics to proactively aid disaster recovery.

Bluebird Network Offers Aggregated Services

With a Bluebird Network infrastructure, first responders will be provided with critical information such as maps, building plans and utility information in real time. Images and video can be shared to prepare hospitals for patients. Citizens can upload photos and videos of crimes or potential crimes allowing them to be reviewed by police officers in real time or while in route to investigate, resulting in a more efficient use of law enforcement. Government forms can be digitized and available 24/7 for maximum efficiency. High bandwidth allows for the government entities to improve services, increase transparency and operate more effectively.

Bluebird Network offers colocation, gigabit transport and gigabit Internet services through the Bluebird Underground Data Center and the Bluebird Quad Cities Data Center.  Both facilities utilize Bluebird’s 10,000-mile fiber network and provides only the best in terms of safety, security and reliability.

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