No matter how tech savvy you are, there are a few basic thing you can learn that will make you a better responder. At [D4H] we often hear the argument, that responders didn’t have this technology 10 to 20 years ago and they got by just fine. However technology has improved many aspects of modern life so why not use it to make you and your fellow responders safer and more effective.
Using Online Mapping
There are a huge amount of mapping resources available online many of which are free to the public. Online maps can be a majorly beneficial resource when planning a search, rescue, event or event giving direction for a training exercise. The level of detail and interactivity is unmatched by printed maps. Many online maps now offer Satellite Imagery, Traffic, Streetview, Weather and Terrain. The most obvious examples would be Google Maps and Microsoft's Bing Maps. We must also mention [D4H]’s mapping partner Esri GIS Mapping Software they have a huge variety of mapping solutions, make sure to follow them on facebook.com/esrigis to keep track of their latest releases.
Send a Photo
A picture says a thousand words and in a situation when time is of the essence a picture can communicate the necessary information far quicker than a text message, phone call or writing down information for later reporting. Pictures are a huge part of post incident reporting, thus responders must be able take, upload and attach relevant photographical evidence to the necessary reports. Many teams keep a camera as a part of their equipment however if your team doesn’t most phones come with a built in camera and allow for picture messaging. Also pictures of your crew in action can be great to share across your teams Social Media.
Send Your Current Position
When out on a search or even hiking, there are lots of solutions you can use to share your coordinates. Many smart phones and devices use GPS, wireless LAN and phone towers to get highly accurate coordinates. After locating your whereabouts you can copy your coordinates and use them for mapping, location service apps or your emergency response team software. Another innovative solution would be to share your location on Twitter, via Email or possibly text it to base, a team leader or a friend.
Sharing Reporting Documents
Responders need to be able create, store and share standardized electronic reports. In this electronic age it is no longer acceptable to keep only paper based records of incidents. With an increase demand on record keeping and reporting to a governing body, electronic records are not only a requirement but can also save time and effort if done correctly. Even at the most basic level of electronic reporting, creating a Word Document means incident information can be stored in more than one place and shared easily.
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