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Earthquakes and Upgrading National Emergency Communications

Earthquakes and Upgrading National Emergency Communications 

Our firm was retained by the Chilean government to assist with enhancing emergency communications across the country.  The project was linked to improving emergency response as a result of the 2010 earthquake that caused widespread damage on land and initiating a tsunami that devastated some coastal areas of the country and responsible for more than 500 deaths

The project to design of the National Emergency Network (NEN) required our team to extensively coordinate with the project’s key stakeholders, SUBTEL and ONEMI.  SUBTEL is the leading national telecommunications entity and ONEMI is the national disaster management agency.

Chile’s geography includes rugged and remote landscape ranging from the spectacular Andes to high desert to fjords and eventually Antarctica.  Designing a network that can operate in this environment demanded high standards of availability, performance, redundancy, diversity, and resilience under a variety of emergency-response and disaster communications scenarios.  

As experienced in disasters worldwide, emergency responders require adequate bandwidth to prevent congestion and blocking due to extra traffic generated during emergencies and disasters.  To meet that demand, we designed a multi-layered network using multiple radio and satellite communications technologies.  

The NEN design augmented and integrated with the existing networks that ONEMI operates for disaster and emergency response.  The project covers all 15 regions of the country linking together 15 regional Early Warning Communications Centers (Centro Alerta Temprana CAT) and a central CAT located in Santiago, Chile under the authority of the National Office of Emergencies (Oficina Nacional de Emergencia) or ONEMI. 

SUBTEL approved the design. 

The project was funded through a grant from the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). 

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