Intelsat General has been involved in disaster recovery situations to fight terrorism, provide human aid to war-stricken areas, assist with counter-drug surveillance, link soldiers to their families and reconnect areas torn apart by hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters.
Satellite communications (SATCOM) are ideally suited to deal with the unknown aspects of any disaster:
- SATCOM is completely independent of the local infrastructure
- While radio is limited to little more than area voice communications, mobile satellite service (MSS) or fixed satellite service (FSS) can provide connections to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) as well as the Internet, and can carry voice, data, and video traffic.
- SATCOM is both interoperable with other forms of communications and has global reach
Intelsat General offers equipment and service to support the three general types of disaster response and recovery.
The role of satellite communications in emergency response is:
- Providing communications while first responders are assessing a situation
- Giving first responders the ability to call in immediate medical care and restore order
- Providing sustained operations using solar power for battery
This is typically a more prolonged effort (1-6 months or more). While the emergency responders are first on the scene, Disaster Recovery personnel are typically there for the duration of the recovery efforts. The initial goals of disaster relief include supporting efforts to provide:
- Public safety
- Communications in and out of the affected region
- Public health and welfare
- Financial aid
Continuity of Operations (COOP)
COOP relies on an infrastructure that is put in place in advance, in anticipation of a loss of communications in a disaster. This could be satellite equipment installed at a specific location, or it could be a trailer-mounted VSAT to be deployed to an affected location on short notice.
In the event of any loss of service, a well-designed COOP capability will immediately restore communications to specific facilities or organizations.
In assessing the response to Katrina, emergency managers found that businesses and organizations which could restore communications within the first couple of weeks of a disaster had a significantly better chance of recovering from the disaster than those which were unable to communicate. This experience indicates that regardless of the approach, communications assurance should be part of every organization’s emergency planning.
Intelsat General has networks in place to support ER, DR, and COOP. We can install communications services immediately, or we can tailor a solution to suit the customer’s needs and budget.