The frequency and magnitude of natural disasters in the United States have increased exponentially over the past two decades, now costing $18 billion in relief per year—nearly three times as much as in the 2000s. To meet the rising challenges, first responders and relief groups must be prepared to react swiftly when incidents occur and provide proper aid to minimize the effects of disasters.

As responders continually evaluate the best methods of emergency preparedness, upgrading legacy systems and antiquated practices is the best place to start. Enhancing these systems arms first responders with technology that can help inform mission-critical decisions and substantially improve collaboration in life-saving work.

Strong training is the foundation of strong teams 

The first step in an emergency response strategy is to ensure that personnel are properly trained and ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice. As the sheer number and scale of disasters increase, the challenges facing first responders continue to grow more pervasive. However, utilizing new technologies allows training programs to evolve alongside the challenges themselves.

For instance, consider simulation exercises. These are essential in emergency response training. However, physical and technical constraints often hinder trainees’ ability to retain source material and collaborate with their peers. For the West Sayville Fire Department on Long Island, the station’s training exercises are typically hosted in person and mandatory. Its brigade of volunteers previously convened in a crowded conference room where training sessions were held around a dry-erase board or monitor, limiting the interactivity and flexibility that the modern workforce demands.

West Sayville integrated Samsung digital displays throughout the station, including its conference rooms, to enhance the quality and impact of its training programs. Samsung Interactive Displays and added webcams now enable trainers to gain seamless access to department software and other digital training materials while also allowing volunteer emergency responders to attend sessions remotely. The fire department’s digital transformation continues to drive higher engagement and more productive and collaborative discussions among volunteer firefighters, which is critical as they prepare for real-world crisis situations.


Connectivity creates new possibilities

In an emergency situation, real-time communication and problem-solving are critical. However, dated technology and poor connectivity slow down the flow of information. This manifests in various negative ways, from relief groups not receiving critical supplies to paramedics not obtaining life-saving medicine.

Convoy of Hope Indoor

Convoy of Hope, a non-profit humanitarian and disaster relief organization, outfitted its newly built 200,000-square-foot HQ with Samsung indoor LED displays to facilitate real-time communication between its staff at home and abroad. In total, 88 Samsung displays were installed throughout the new building, including displays in its office spaces to enable internal communications about the organization’s life-saving work. All conference rooms in the building use Samsung technology to facilitate team collaboration.

Convoy of Hope Meeting

Donor contributions are essential to Convoy of Hope’s mission of changing lives through kindness. To communicate the impact of its global community outreach to potential donors, Convoy of Hope worked with Samsung to design and install a 105-foot-by-20-foot outdoor LED display. The massive, high-resolution display wraps around the outside of the building and is visible to motorists driving on two major thoroughfares. The display serves as a powerful visual storytelling medium for three-dimensional anamorphic content that leaves a lasting emotional connection for all who pass through the area.

“People visiting the HQ building or driving by on the highway instantly know what Convoy of Hope does and why its work matters,” said Sara Grofcsik, Head of Sales, Display Division, Samsung Electronics America. “Whether it is showing the happy faces of children that Convoy of Hope helps to feed in impoverished nations or its team members working alongside members of the local community, indoor and outdoor LED displays educate and inspire the public that they can help make a difference in the world. Convoy of Hope exemplifies the use of technology with creativity and purpose.”

The mission must remain at the core

Whether it’s a local fire department serving its community, a nonprofit providing aid or military personnel responding to a crisis, all organizations must embrace new processes and technology that help them meet their mission objectives. Increasingly, more organizations are using best-in-class digital displays to gain greater visibility of an emergency situation. As a result, they can maintain greater command and control by making decisions faster and with greater confidence to ensure first responders, relief workers and those impacted remain as safe as possible at every step of the mission.

Looking ahead to the future, we must face the unfortunate reality that disastrous situations will likely persist. However, employing technology as a proactive tool will make an invaluable difference in the lives of the humans who need it most.