The Duncan Banner

July 26, 2013

Using smart technology in times of crisis

LEPC discusses emergency preparedness

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — In an emergency situation, various emergency personnel throughout Stephens County may be relying on their smart devices to maintain communication and to better prepare them for the situation at hand.

During Thursday’s Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), Patty Wininger, emergency preparedness director for Duncan Regional Hospital, and Gena Webb, DRH IT systems analysis, talked about the important role smart devices can serve during an emergency.

The idea is that devices (iPhones, Kindles and the like) provide a way for emergency personnel to break away from archaic ways of doing some tasks.

“We are all digital,” Wininger said. “We know that.”

Wininger said when an emergency situation is happening, it is better to use all the resources available, even if that includes applications on smart devices.

Webb walked through the steps of downloading applications to various devices and suggested some applications, including Google Earth and Red Cross, that could come in handy in an emergency. She also recommended people keep their devices password protected to avoid having anyone download additional applications.

“I suggest you put a password on your iPad, especially if you have grandkids,” Webb said. “They will buy apps, the ones you don’t want them to buy.”

Although applications can come in handy, Wininger said there are steps necessary to ensure they can be used during an emergency.

“Have chargers everywhere,” she said. “Nothing is worse than being in any kind of emergency and having your phone go down.”

She said the phone and other device chargers help to maintain communications during such situations. She said there may also be situations where electronic communication may be severed, whether there’s a power outage or a loss of Internet. In those situations, it’s important for everyone to know how to do their jobs with pencil and paper to make up for the lack of electronic information.

Jimmy Pryor, deputy director for county emergency management and flood plains director, provided a demonstration of how a smart device can come in handy.

He brought up Google Earth on his laptop and showed how to locate safe rooms and businesses with chemicals.

“This is a real neat tool,” Pryor said.