DR-NEP: helping disaster responders make better decisions

Disaster Response Network Enabled Platform 

The Disaster Response Network Enabled Platform can help to save lives around the world by modeling a community’s response to a nature disaster. The platform simulates multiple systems such as: the power network, the electrical network and telecommunications network. All of these systems depend very strongly on each other in normal life but this interdependence is even more evident during large disasters. For example, imagine that, after an earthquake, there is not enough energy from both the hospital and the water pumping station. A decision must be made about how to split the power. Do you give 100% of the energy to the hospital and none to the water pumping station? If you do the hospital will not be able to function, not because of a lack of electricity, but from a lack of water. There is a best combination of the allocation of resources. The DR-NEP platform provides very sophisticated simulation tools to enable people responding to a disaster to make the best possible decision that brings together multiple critical systems.

The software is designed for communities that would like to better prepare for and respond to a disaster. The first step in using the software is for the community to work together with experts in the DR-NEP network to build a model of the community. Once the model is created, showing for example, the location and capacity of hospitals and electrical sub-stations and all of the other critical components, the model is entered into the simulation platform. The simulation of the community’s infrastructure can be used to train people in a multitude of disaster scenarios or they can use the platform capabilities in real time when they are dealing with a real event.

The software can be accessed using a web interface. The disaster responder has a number of options in how to visualize the information about the community’s infrastructure including Google earth. The physical status of infrastructures is colour codes and quickly discernible. The impact of decisions made during the disaster simulation can be followed over time.

This platform will ultimately save lives by allowing disaster responders to make better decisions.