Blue Line

IWCE report analyzes the impact of power outages on first responders

January 21, 2020  By Staff

The International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE), an event for the critical communications industry, says it recently surveyed over 597 first responders and public safety professionals to “benchmark the current technologies they are using” and to “understand current technological challenges within the industry.”

The survey revealed that in the past year, 25 per cent of first responders have experienced an incident where loss of power affected their ability to do their job. The report also finds that the majority of first responders don’t have enough back-up power to last longer than 24 hours with 43 per cent stating they would run out of power within 24 hours. Fifteen per cent of first responders reported they have no back-up power system in place at all and only 26 per cent said they have back up that lasts longer than a week.

“Perhaps we can sometimes take it for granted that during an emergency, first responders are always available,” said Stephanie McCall, show director for IWCE. “But if the power goes out, it goes out for first responders often, too. While backup power is the usual standard operating procedure, it does not last forever. This can affect their ability to be safe and to keep members of the public safe, and to communicate with each other. As extreme weather incidents are becoming more frequent and we now live in a world where cyber terrorists may find ways to shut down power grids, first responders need to keep abreast of power options, specifically for communications equipment, and utilities need to be fully secure to avoid hack attacks. IWCE 2020 will be covering the technologies, solutions and providing training to first responders to deal with these challenges.”

For the past 44 years, IWCE has been a major event for critical communications technology professionals. This year it was be held in the Las Vegas Conference Center March 30 to April 3, 2020. Due to the global pandemic, it has been postponed. Check out the website for the latest details.


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