Post-Earthquake Solutions

Technologies for improved responses following earthquakes and other types of disasters where communication is down.

Buildings destroyed in Turkey following the 2023 earthquake that killed over 20,000 people [credit: Əziz Kərimov (VOA) – Voice of America]
Even with the significant advances in science and technology in recent years, it is still impossible to predict exactly when and where an earthquake will occur, or how large it will be.

While a lot remains unknown about earthquakes, the challenging scenarios that take place in the hours, days and weeks that follow large quakes – are all too familiar.

These – life or death – scenarios include:

  • People trapped under buildings that collapsed.
  • Roads and streets destroyed, limiting access and movement.
  • Communication infrastructure damaged or destroyed, limiting the ability of rescue forces to coordinate activities and share knowledge and findings.
  • Broken chain-of-command, obstructing decision making and emergency distribution of essential resources.
  • Lack of sufficient manpower for urgent search and rescue operations.

MER’s Technology-based Solutions

MER Group has experience in providing operational solutions for search and rescue forces worldwide, to better handle scenarios that arise following earthquakes and other types of disasters, including floods, wildfires and spread of hazardous materials.

The following are three examples of technology-based solutions – developed in-house by TechMer (a subsidiary of MER Group) – to address post-earthquake scenarios.

1. Alternative communication networks

Past earthquakes across the world have had destructive effects on the functionality of communication infrastructures and electricity infrastructure, which communication networks rely on. Keeping communication networks up and running is vital during the post-disaster phase because communication is essential for supporting emergency and relief management activities and for restoring other critical lifelines.

The CellBOX can be mobile (on backpack or suitcase) or can be integrated into any vehicle.

The CellBOX with satellite connection is a compact “Network-in-a-Box” that provides fully independent high-speed broadband communication during large disasters, when existing communication infrastructure fails.

The CellBOX enables first responders – such as police, firefighters and emergency medical service providers – to establish satellite-based high-speed networks that enable live video feeds from the field to various command posts, as well as transfer of pictures, identify locations of crewmembers and use of online applications such as Whatsapp.


2. Interoperability

The MER interoperability system enables different forces, units and organizations to communicate and seamlessly collaborate.

Following large earthquakes and other emergencies, multiple forces (police, fire fighters, medical units, international rescue crews and civilian volunteers) need to respond in a coordinated manner to contain damages, help the injured and guide the public to safety. Yet each of these forces may use different communication equipment that is incompatible due to different technologies and frequencies, limiting their ability to communicate with each other, resulting in confusion and lack of synchronization.

MER’s interoperability system allows two-way communication between radio transceivers, phone landlines and cell phones, by transforming multiple and diverse audio sources to VoIP/RoIP streams that can be sent online to multiple operators using dispatch consoles.

By gathering data from multiple sources and in diverse formats and delivering a unified, centralized overview of the situation, MER’s interoperability systems makes it possible for decision makers to act with certainty and efficiency, even in the most extreme scenarios.


3. Mobile command & control units

In disasters that strike an entire region – such as earthquakes, flood or storms – destruction is often spread out over a large area, including in locations that are not easily accessible. This makes it harder for decision makers to understand what is happening on the ground and make insightful decisions.

MER’s mobile command & control units address this challenge by significantly increasing situational awareness during emergencies, thereby improving management and utilization of strategic information, such as operational maps, live-video feeds and VoIP/RoIP interoperability.

The mobile command & control platform is customizable to different types of vehicles in accordance with local terrain and can be seamlessly integrated with existing communication systems.