When one of the most powerful storms ever recorded – Typhoon Haiyan – tore a path of destruction over 100 miles wide through the central Philippines In November 2013, it left behind a shattered landscape. Over 6000 people were killed, four million were left homeless and over 14 million were affected by the typhoon.
BT activated its Emergency Response Teams (ERT) as soon as the scale of the devastation emerged. Comprising a network of up to 40 highly-skilled engineers, the teams are trained to respond to the most extreme emergency situations and equipped to face almost any challenge, being vitally important both to other first-responders and the affected communities.
An initial team of four left the UK to provide reconnaissance and planning on the ground, followed by three more BT units supplying equipment to provide satellite-based communications to three locations, as all power, fixed line infrastructure and mobile networks were down. A quick response was vital in order for relief workers to co-ordinate their efforts and save lives, but the whole area was exceptionally hazardous for workers, particularly as no communication networks were in operation.
To help with the deployment and tracking of the ERT’s, which was essential to maximise the resource and make sure that assets were deployed when and where they were most needed, BT selected GRC’s Tracking solution – TrackIT.
This solution consisted of the user friendly mapping panel, which can be stand alone or accessed from anywhere in the world, and a hand-held global two-way satellite personal tracking device. The central management system allows all deployed assets to be tracked and monitored on any appropriate map and has the capability to overlay bespoke plans and drawings to provide greater detail for specialist operations.
The TrackIT solution also stores historic data of asset movement and operational information, allowing comprehensive and effective debriefs, while supporting the two-way messaging between the mapping panel and the user’s device. Each BT team member carried with them an ultra-low power tracking device which provided automatic location reports and contained a panic alert button and integrated motion sensor. These devices are capable of sending up to 1500 reports on one charge.
TrackIT allowed BT’s Early Response Teams to be deployed effectively, quickly and safely; giving each team member the confidence to carry out their vital duties.
John McGraw of the BT ERT said: “The GRC TrackIT solution allowed team members to be tracked in the most hostile of environments and provided a vital tool in ensuring our assets were deployed effectively and safely”.