Unified Communications’ Role in Public Safety 

Little is known about the role of unified communications in public safety. Unified communications are at work when there is an imminent threat of disaster. These are text (SMS) message warning of an impending natural disaster. ​ It is also present in our daily lives, but it is as seamless and untraceable. Further, this is intentional on the part of the designers this way so it will have less footprints.​ But we must be mindful that it is there, and we ought to know how it can be in service in times of disaster like earthquakes, floods, tsunami, landslides, droughts, severe storms, bushfires, and heatwaves.​

Below is the role of unified communications in public safety:

One-way Mass Notification

As mentioned earlier, it serves as one-way communication from the authorities to the public about any impending natural disaster. Much of this is related to predictable disasters. That includes severe storms, tsunamis, and heatwaves.​

Aiding to Arrive at an Informed Decision

The masses must be aware of any upcoming event as the public must decide for themselves can serve as a back-up warning systems​ VoIP providers has the capability failover/redundancy routing capabilities to ensure that companies remain on the network even during a regional disaster.​

Not only that, since companies have their unified communications and have contact with their respective employees, local clients, and business partners. It can be an alternative means of reaching out to the masses.  ​

Storing Valuable Information in the Cloud

Speaking of back-up, having a cloud-based app that can store data without hard drives is a significant factor. This way, you have an assurance that essential files and soft copy of documents are safe in the cloud PBX service. ​Essentially, storing important documents is one of the to-do-lists in disaster preparedness scenario.​ Unified Communications should not be an after-thought, as it has so much potential in the business world and alternative communication before, during, and after a disaster strike.

How Prepared are Australians for Any Disaster?

The Australian Red Cross conducted a preparedness survey for the year 2020 and released the following findings: 

  1. Only two out of five Australians are taking active measures to prepare themselves for the next fire season. 
  2. Under half (40%) of those who live in a community where they are highly confident their town is up to it when it comes to emergencies do not believe their community is ready for floods, heatwaves, and bushfires. 
  3. Additionally, four in five (77%) of Australians believe they need to be more prepared for the pandemic. 
  4. Meanwhile, two out of five (52%) said they cannot be truly ready and do not know what to do during the pandemic. 

Moreover, in the event of emergencies, Australians will tend to:​

  • 43% thought of having an emergency plan​
  • 40% stored important documents​
  • 29% have taken steps to protect assets or sentimental belongings​
  • 25% identified someone who needs help​

Furthermore, when asked about the following, most Australians are likely to:​

  • 23% have emergency kits​
  • 22% engage with their neighbours about what is they should do ​
  • 22% identified someone to help you​
  • 21% has psychologically prepared themselves​
  • 21% knows the safe place to meet​
  • 10% has written a plan​

What Do You Need to Prepare?

Considering the data above, we believe that we need to be ready for any eventuality.​ Also, even though the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is not until the 13th of October, we decided to make the awareness earlier. After all, safety should be everybody’s concern.​ Furthermore, to strongly urge our readers to be prepared, we at Switch Connect even thought of something better. We want to provide a pdf format for the following precautions to serve as your checklist. Feel free to download our pdf and print it. ​

Here are four essential items you need in order to be ready for any eventualities:​

1. Fire Extinguisher

We should not discount fires from the list of disasters. So having fire extinguishers in our homes, school and at work is a must. Below are the guidelines that you should remember to maintain a fire extinguisher properly: 

  • All fire extinguishers must undergo inspections every six months. 
  • In case an extinguisher does not have any pressure gauge, weighing is an option  
  • Some fire extinguisher needs servicing like emptying, pressure tested, and then refilled in 3 to 5 years. 
  • The fire extinguisher testing intervals are recorded on a label or metal tag attached to the unit. 
  • Do a visual inspection of the extinguisher that shows that it is in a serviceable condition. 
  • Any additional fire extinguisher maintenance required must be approved by the client before being carried out. 

2. Portable Power Supply

It is not enough that you own a portable generator that you can use during a power outage. It will be best to maintain it because a well-oiled machine is far better than having one and failing when you most need it. To keep your portable generator running strong with these seven maintenance tips:  

  • Run your portable generator every few months. 
  • Frequently check the fuel in your portable generator. 
  • Check your fuel lines. 
  • Stock up some extra oil. 
  • Replace or clean that dirty air filter. 
  • Check in on your spark plugs. 
  • Invest in a long, heavy-duty extension cord. 

3. First Aid Kit

Like fire, you may never know when will be the next accident waiting to happen. Having a first aid kit will always be handy. To ensure your first aid kit is complete, here is the checklist of items you must have: 

  • Scissors 
  • Band-Aids in assorted sizes 
  • Compression bandages 
  • Tape 
  • Butterfly bandages 
  • Gauze 
  • Disposable thermometers 
  • Tweezers 
  • Antiseptic/Antibacterial cream 
  • CPR breathing barrier 
  • Splints 
  • Instant cold packs and heating pads 
  • Burn ointment 
  • Pain reliever (both aspirin and non-aspirin ibuprofen) 
  • Gloves – both latex and silicone-based   

4. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

By now, we are all acquainted with what a PPE is. However, some of these items are now part of our everyday carry. With the pandemic still raging, there are some things we tend to carry more often than not. These are stuff like a face mask, alcohol or sanitiser dispenser, even goggles and disposable gloves.  Other than those, here are some items you should include in your PPE: 

  • Hard Hats 
  • Eye Protection 
  • Respirators 
  • Hearing protection 
  • Gloves 
  • Boots 
  • Protective Clothing 

The above list came from Nova Medical Centers: Emergency Equipment: What You Need in Your Office

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