As the 2019 hurricane season began to wrap up, tropical storms out in the Atlantic began to pick up speed. This resulted in the formation of Hurricane Dorian, which transitioned quickly into a storm that made the world take notice.
As the Category Five hurricane stalled over the Bahamas, the US began to prepare for its landfall. Statewide emergencies were declared and evacuations announced, while first responders geared up for what looked like a week of coastline emergency calls.
In order for these calls to be met with the most efficient service, emergency responders rely on data centers to help with communication. It's critical that these data centers remain operational during a hurricane, in order for survivors to receive help.
Emergency responders need to look after themselves while doing their jobs, so the teams that are dispatched can operate to the best of their abilities.
During a major weather event like Hurricane Dorian, which touched down in Florida as a Category Three storm, it's easy for teams to get caught up in the rush of 911 calls.
Data centers track staff demand, monitoring the long hours they work and who's being sent out on which calls. EMS managers can then review this data and direct teams to fill in or take breaks as needed, preventing responders from overworking themselves into exhaustion while treating survivors.
As EMS are sent out on calls or leave one response scene for another, data alerts teams with pre-arrival notifications so they know exactly what they need to do before they arrive. All of this is made possible through the infrastructure provided by data centers.
This communication improves trauma response by allowing teams to view call information online. They can check what equipment they need and what kind of trauma they can expect to handle before ever seeing the scene.
With less time wasted at response scenes, workload efficiency is increased, leading to more victims being treated at more locations in a single shift. In situations such as explosions or multi-vehicle accidents, which can occur during a hurricane, EMS teams are able to anticipate how much they can help before relocating victims to the nearest hospital.
Data centers that operate for EMS teams are also crucial for hospitals. The data centers streamline emergency response communication by providing a direct, uninterrupted link between emergency responders and the hospitals that will treat their patients.
Some patients that arrive after others during an emergency situation may actually need to be treated first, which could be hard to assess if patients were to arrive at the hospital without any communication between EMS teams and the emergency department staff.
The same data center communication that allows EMS teams to be prepared before arriving to a scene also helps hospitals know what incoming patients need before they arrive. Every patient then receives more individualized treatment, instead of waiting for help after they're wheeled into the emergency room.
Electricity is one of the first things to get disrupted during a hurricane, especially one as strong as Dorian. The winds that tear through towns before rain ever even arrives can knock down utility poles and leave thousands without power.
Data centers can be set up to run off generators, so they're always online. If a data center were to break down, EMS teams would face many challenges that would prevent efficient patient care and response time.
Maintaining emergency communication is key for any community looking to pull through a major hurricane. Data centers play a key role in making this possible.
The information they track, log and communicate between EMS teams is why first responders can do their job so well when their community needs them the most.
Kayla Matthews writes about data centers and big data for several industry publications, including The Data Center Journal, Data Center Frontier and insideBIGDATA. To read more posts from Kayla, you can follower her personal tech blog at ProductivityBytes.com.