Portugal: Accelerating Disaster Response
A New Approach to Disaster Response
As climate change intensifies, disasters in Europe are becoming more frequent and extreme. Emergency response teams need to find new ways to keep up with these growing threats.
In many European cities, several entities deal with disasters, creating the potential for fatal lapses in communication. When seconds are precious, coordination can mean the difference between life and death.
Matosinhos, a Portuguese city threatened by wildfires, floods, and the potential for industrial disaster at the city's large chemical plant, recognized the need for a unified response. The city now relies on geographic information system (GIS) technology to make sure that all members of every disaster response team are always on the same page. What the city learned can help any organization run more efficiently.
The Same Digital Page: Dashboards
Nothing gets everyone on the same page faster than having the lay of the land summarized with maps, graphs, and charts—updated in real time—that fit on a single screen. For this, the Matosinhos team used dashboards created with ArcGIS Dashboards. This allowed everyone to understand vital, complex data at a glance. These dashboards are customized to meet each team's needs. They can be updated quickly as needs change and accessed simultaneously in command centers and the field. This is why ArcGIS Dashboards is used by emergency responders the world over.
What-If Mapping Scenarios
One vital GIS capability for emergency responders is to run scenarios for better decision-making. For a firefighter, this can mean seeing how a fire may spread or which areas to evacuate first under certain conditions. For a mayor, it can mean understanding how an investment in a new fire station will impact community safety.
The reason GIS works so well for scenario planning is that it combines robust data handling and visualization. Decision-makers can instantly see the consequences of changing variables on a map. Thus it is used to explore questions as varied as how to respond to a supply chain bottleneck, what the best option is for a franchise location, or how legislation will affect the price of real estate in a given area.
Bring Your Teams up to Speed
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