Unlock Resilience to Enhance Public Safety
Authors: Rachele Gianfranchi, Head of Government Affairs at Everbridge. Lorenzo Marchetti, Government Affairs Associate at Everbridge
The World Climate Summit – The Investment COP 26 provides an opportunity for Everbridge to showcase its expertise in bringing together leading public and private sector organizations to address climate change and associated risks through resilience-building technology solutions. Specifically, this event will open a dialogue about pragmatic solutions that build safer, more resilient, and inclusive responses to critical events created by climate change.
Tackling Public Safety is a prime concern of governments and enterprises, globally. For Governments, the political legitimacy, or lack thereof, that comes with the management of a crisis has an immediate impact on the public opinion; on State budget; and on the individual’s daily life, which reflects on a government’s political credibility. For Enterprises, the management of an emergency has an impact on business continuity, revenues, and reputation, in other words, public perception of the corporate brand. As for most items, Public Safety is a risk, and an opportunity. A risk if alert and management of an emergency is not effective. An opportunity to capitalize on by unlocking resilience. Technology allows both governments and enterprises to do so.
An appropriately managed communication and subsequent organizational response to a crisis, be it of environmental, health, or social nature requires a holistic approach which involves Government, industry, and the individual household. An appropriately orchestrated response will create political capital for the Government, minimize the economic damage, and ultimately, the most important of all, save lives, livestock, and livelihoods.
Across the spectrum of emergencies, climate-induced ones are among the most frequent and devastating. The international donor and development community has focused its efforts and funding predominantly on Hydromet detection and prediction data, less on communication of the alerts to the populations. The NGO and charitable associations, on the relief efforts required after the disasters. Everbridge is positioned, along the National Disaster Management Agencies, on the overlooked essential element of the “Last Mile”: alerting people, responders, along a planned operational map agreed with the relevant bodies of the national authorities.
By investing on advanced technologies for measuring climate-induced changes, and the risks associated to these, an impressive amount of climate data has been generated in the last 20 years (since the beginning of the UN Conference on Climate) by the hydrometeorological authorities. Detecting excessive levels of rainfall, an approaching hurricane, forecasting heat waves, or sensing unsustainable levels of air pollution have grown in accuracy and frequency. According to the Hydromet Alliance Report of July 2021 during the period from 1980 and 2020 in the European Union natural disasters have affected almost 50 million people and costed roughly €12 billion per year. Ultimately, the report affirms, the frequency of natural disasters will continue to grow.
The capacity for operationalization of such information has been left to the national initiative of individual Governments, at the level of the Disaster management agencies and Civil Protection authorities, politically moderately influential in relation to the Ministries of Interior, of Defense, of Environment from which they are often politically and financially dependent.
To unlock societal resilience globally, we need to start investing to bridge this last mile. The end-to-end integration of the hydrometeorological value chain needs bridging the gap which has a direct impact on Public Safety: operationalizing data, creating, and diffusing alerts with the widest reach, ensuring privacy, granting situational intelligence to optimize the intervention of first responders.
Modern technology allows an extensive capacity of interpretation, communication, and treatment at national level of the massive amount of ultra-complex data generated by increasingly accurate hydrometeorological sources. Modern technology allows for rapid, intermodal, and interoperable early population alerting, reaching close to 95% of the population and allowing clear and effective communication and coordination of responders for emergency interventions, when accurately tailored to the specific Country needs.
National Disaster Management Agencies around the world are aware and in need for such alerting systems. Being endowed with a modern public alerting system and being supported in designing the orchestration of multiple responses to each crisis situation scenario is a relatively inexpensive step when compared to the fiscal exposure of other public infrastructure and equipment. Somehow this seems a paradox simple to address. This is how technological resilience is fostered.
For the past 20 years, Everbridge has helped countries of all sizes, governments, public authorities, prepare for when critical events happen, to respond with speed and efficiency to limit disaster damage to infrastructure and save more lives. Through its One2many division, Everbridge has been a pioneer in population alerting technologies and developed the first cell broadcast and location-based SMS solutions. To this day, our teams are still very active in driving standardization of public warning worldwide through 3GPP, ATIS, ETSI and EMTEL.
Everbridge is a partner to Central and Local Governments, public safety organizations, fire, emergency medical services, and civil protection agencies, across the world. It provides the Public/ Emergency Warning solutions needed to successfully manage the end-to-end response to local or national emergencies. By helping these agencies communicate rapidly, effectively and in a targeted manner with communities, individuals, and private enterprises before, during, and after natural disasters and emergencies, Everbridge contributes to unlock a country resilience to disasters.
The technology provided by Everbridge is in constant development, while the current systems already offer a truly comprehensive, flexible, modular, and multi-channel population alerting solution that can be adapted to the capacities and existing operations of countries at all stages of development – from high to low-income countries. The Everbridge next generation public/ emergency warning platform provides a unified, flexible, and modular alerting console from which public authorities can create and control geo targeted public alerts to an affected area or at countrywide scale. In addition, Everbridge provides all the necessary back-end components to transmit these alerts reliably and securely to the public onto their mobile phones, installed with all mobile network operators present in a country. This requires a specific, tailored approach to every Government customer, establishing a relation of trust and cooperation.
The cooperation is an essential element of the contract a government establishes with Everbridge, since the three steps required to tailoring the system to the very nature of the country’s needs are intrinsic to the functioning of the public warning product. Needs assessment and Design, Configuration, Operational maintenance are all specific to the country’s political geography, risk exposure, responders’ deployment capacities, societal resilience. There is no one-size-fits all or off-the-shelf Everbridge solution for early public warning, so important is the Public Safety mission pursued by the company, in a long-lasting partnership with public authorities.
To conclude, how could governments and enterprises unlock resilience? By deploying the technology that companies such as Everbridge provide that can ensure critical advantages for saving lives, livelihoods and livestock as organizations adapt to extreme climate events.