Cape Fear Offers Disaster Technology Training

Red Cross Emergency Response Communications Team
Part of ensuring that the Red Cross is ready for disaster was preparing a communications infrastructure with multiple levels of permanent and semi-permanent communications devices

The Cape Fear Chapter of the American Red Cross is offering a select training opportunity for disaster volunteers; Disaster Services Technology: Emergency Communications Response Vehicle (ECRV) will be held on Sept 29 and 30 at the Cape Fear Chapter, 1102 S. 16th St.

In this course participants are introduced to the technical information required to operate, maintain and deploy the ECRV. Classroom and hands-on instruction covers VSAT (satellite dish), computer laptop, internet access, e-mail, fax, phone, radio and antenna operations and uses for rapid deployment upon arrival at a disaster relief operation (DRO).

Nationwide the American Red Cross has 12 Emergency Communications Response Vehicles (ECRVs), to support disaster relief operations. These mobile communications outposts are outfitted with $250,000 of technology equipment, much of it donated. In the event of a disaster, an ECRV team can reach anywhere in the country in less than 24 hours to provide for initial communications until the rest of the team and equipment arrive. These mobile communications outposts are outfitted with $250,000 of technology equipment, much of it donated. In the event of a disaster, an ECRV team can reach anywhere in the country in less than 24 hours to provide for initial communications until the rest of the team and equipment arrive.

Part of ensuring that the Red Cross is ready for disaster was preparing a communications infrastructure with multiple levels of permanent and semi-permanent communications devices. In addition to the ECRVs the Red Cross utilizes these other tools:

  • 2 Land-Earth stations: Red Cross land earth stations serve as the hub for all communications. The stations are located in Ashburn, Va. and Austin, Texas, and receive satellite signals from disaster relief operations and provide vital communication capabilities including internet and VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) telephone communications to disaster workers across the country. As satellite capabilities can be hindered by bad weather, the two sites have the ability to switch back and forth based on which one has the best signal.
  • 4 Hot Sites: There are four hot sites, which are pre-established in the hurricane-prone areas of Montgomery, Ala., Port Allen, La., Hattiesburg, Miss., and Richmond, Va. These turnkey sites are always ready, networked with 50 computers, two printers, a fax machine, T-1 connectivity and a permanent satellite dish.
  • 40 Prepositioned Satellite Systems: These satellites are strategically located at 40 chapters in hurricane risk areas from Texas to New York. Using these devices, a chapter in an area where the infrastructure has been affected can reestablish communications to share vital information with other Red Cross units. Each site represents approximately $65,000 in technology investment.
  • About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please click here to visite our website or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org