How to Use RFID Technology to Maximize Emergency Management Efficiency

RFID and related technology streamline the planning, response and recovery phases of emergency management within the National Response Framework – at federal, regional, state and local levels. More specifically, implementing the technology can improve workflow efficiency, increase employee accountability and increase asset visibility, as well as allow you to provide a safer and more immediate response to assist those in need.


Keep reading to learn more about how to apply Lowry Solutions within the emergency management space to save both lives and dollars.

 1.     Readiness and planning

With more than 30 years of experience in domestic and civil support, I can say with certainty that one thing has held true following every major response at either the local, state or national level. Visibility and accountability of assets and capabilities are always in the “needs improvement” category in after-action reports and lesson-learned briefings.

 We all recognize that without proper logistical support, no action or mission can be sustained for any extended period of time. However, the issue does not start on scene or during the response. It starts in the planning and accountability of resources that can and would be available if that response is ever needed.


Here’s how Lowry can provide a solution long before the disaster strikes:


Manage visibility and status of committed resources

 –  Having a shared database of resources committed by supporting organizations. For example, an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC): “pre-scripted” capabilities, current location, status and availability.

–  Having the ability within your organization or agency to update the status based on current use, maintenance or changes in the owners’ priorities. Providing decision-makers with accurate and timely information.

– Assuring operational maintenance is performed on time and that assets are ready for immediate use when required.

– Sharing the database at all levels and making sure it is the foundation for further planning assumptions at the operational and tactical level of response.

Assist in future planning requirements

 –  Federal Agencies can examine the database to identify future allocation of resources at a higher level.

–  Response plans can focus on resource movement and mission, rather than the resources themselves.

–  Local and State organizations can use a tool to validate the need for future funding to cover the gaps identified in the system.

–  Organizations can provide accurate cost data for life cycle cost analysis during the recovery phase.


 b2ap3_thumbnail_bigstock-Emergency-Planning-and-Disaste-61444913.jpg2.     Receiving staging and onward integration

One of my most interesting, rewarding – yet challenging – missions while assigned at U.S. Northern Command was as part of the Joint Enabling Capability Teams that responded in response to Hurricane Sandy on the east coast of the United States in October of 2012. Our team’s responsibility was to assist the Dual Status Commander, State Joint Task Force and Task Force Civil Support Operations in coordinating the Department of Defense response. In doing so, a Joint Reception, Staging, Onward movement and Integration (JRSOI) was established.

Reception included taking initial accountability of the unit members, equipment and resources prior to them being employed to support other agencies. This type of reception and staging is accomplished at all levels of response, including at the Incident Command level on “the front line.”

Many of the lessons learned that I observed during this event are similar to lessons learned during previous storms.

Lessons learned:

 –  I witnessed a lack of timely and accurate visibility of available resources across the operational spectrum. One result of this was seeing needed resources sit for days prior to actual use.

–  Capabilities were deployed without the proper resources in order to put them in use. This included fuel for the trucks, correct hoses for tankers and generators that were not mission capable.

–  I witnessed decision-makers not having current or, in some cases, correct knowledge of resources they could deploy – resources that could have been useful to all responders.

–  Lack of individual accountability caused workflow disruption.


All this can be summarized by the fact that the command and control elements did not have an accurate common operating picture to plan, or the information to assist in making the best decision possible in a timely manner.

For more information on emergency management, contact Lowry Solutions at (800) 918-2672.

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