First of all, I want to say my heart goes out to all the families in New Orleans and surrounding areas that are being impacted by Hurricane Isaac today. The first priority must always be taking the proper precautions to ensure safety.

But staying connected is also an important consideration—both for families to keep in touch and emergency responders to perform services effectively. And in times of natural disaster, this can be challenging, as power is typically affected by severe weather.

In many cases, when power is down, wireless networks rely on back-up generators and batteries that can operate for days without power. Many of the large wireless carriers have prepared the networks by readying wired and wireless assets in advance of the storm and are now issuing advice for users
including only make calls when necessary, turn off services you don’t use, set up emergency text alerts, and download emergency service apps, among others.

While these suggestions can be helpful in preparing for a storm, how can you keep connected during and following a hurricane? M2M, in particular, can provide a good way for loved ones to connect during times of emergency.

Rather than texting—which doesn’t provide immediate access to data—LBS (location-based services) can provide a nice alternative. This technology gives family members across the country access to critical data about where loved ones are located at all times and provides peace of mind.

In the days that follow, emergency responders can also use M2M technology to gain access to realtime information. Connected devices can provide a means by which to allow emergency service teams to respond to a natural disaster in a more effective manner.

An example of how first-responders can use M2M is in a connected ambulance. Such vehicles can provide realtime patient information records—sharing the data from the hospital with the team on the go, allowing EMTs to make informed decisions. An example of this is the Feeney Wireless vehicle-ready connected ambulance. The CIRA GPS (Cellular Internet Routing Appliance) allows EMTs to update patient data via cellular and GPS connection—meaning the data can be accessed even in remote areas.

Safety is undoubtedly the top priority when it comes to natural disasters—but more and more M2M and connected devices are providing a means to improve safety and communication during severe weather.

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