Using Wireless Networks to Provide Early Warning of Emergency Incidents

Authors

Johan Jenvald,Johan Stjernberger,Anders Nygren,Henrik Eriksson

Abstract

Early warning to our citizens in case of emergency incidents, whether deliberate or accidental, can increase public safety substantially. Selective warnings and instructions can limit the negative consequences of an incident by making people on their way into, or passing through, the incident area aware of the threat, thus increasing the possibility for them to avoid the hazard. With the increased use of cellular phones and the infrastructure of the emerging high-capacity wireless networks with large geographical coverage, new possibilities arise to reach a selection of individuals in a specific area. Already today, the wireless networks have increased the ability for the public to report incidents and emergencies to rescue authorities. In this paper we explore the possibility to take additional advantage of the wireless networks in order to deliver selective early warnings to people in or close to a hazardous area. Sending appropriate information in a comprehensible format requires that the target audience can be identified, for example based on geographical location, means of transportation, movement in relation to the incident, and language preferences. We investigate criteria for selecting the target audience, means of customizing message contents, suitable media, and technical requirements and limitations. We analyze these points in relation to practical examples and discuss potential applications.

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