27 September 2017: Inmarsat and Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) are supporting a Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) in the Philippines today.
Through Inmarsat’s involvement with the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme, emergency telecoms agency TSF and Inmarsat will be working with the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Disaster Response Assistance and Management Bureau (DReAMB) to put new emergency communications and information management protocols to the test.
The exercise will include the deployment of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) service, the world’s first globally available, high-speed broadband network delivered by a single operator. The nationwide drill will also see ‘out-of-the-box’ Wi-Fi hotspots created for use by the emergency response teams, using Inmarsat’s award-winning BGAN service.
BGAN, which is used across the world for mission-critical and emergency communications, has L-band network availability exceeding 99.9%, meaning that connectivity is assured wherever operations are based and in any conditions.
The Philippines experiences at least 20 tropical cyclones annually. In addition, being inside the Pacific ‘ring of fire’ places it at risk from volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and consequent tsunamis. Despite the Philippine Government being highly experienced at responding to disasters, the country’s geography, resource constraints and current ICT infrastructure means the human and economic cost of disasters remains high.
Director Felino O. Castro V, Head of DReAMB, said: “The department has been strengthening its efforts to improve its operational communications capability during disaster response.
“The bedrock of prompt and effective response is the ability to communicate and access reliable, accurate and timely information before, during and after a disaster, at all levels of response governance.”
During the drill, the Rapid Emergency Telecommunications Teams (RETT) will simulate their earthquake emergency telecommunications response protocols and use the Inmarsat equipment to communicate with disaster managers in the Bicol region, which is the first DSWD-Inmarsat project pilot area, and the DSWD central office.
Paul Gudonis, President, Inmarsat Enterprise, said: “When disaster strikes and terrestrial networks go down, first responders and fieldworkers can rely on Inmarsat’s satellite equipment to communicate.
“With our voice and always-available broadband data services, we can restore essential connectivity independently of local networks, enabling humanitarian teams to co-ordinate a rapid and effective first response to disasters.”