In a mass crisis event, Emergency Operation Centers (EOC) cannot meet the demand of thousands of individuals trying to alert or request emergency services. However, new technology, driven by the right policy and tested for strengths and weaknesses in a data rich, semi-predictable environment, can help to address current PSAP limitations. In this paper the authors present a system that aims to provide real-time data to emergency managers during a crisis event in such an environment – a college town during a football game or similarly attended event. The system is designed to accept, sort, triage and deliver hundreds of direct text messages from populations engaged in a crisis to emergency management staff who can respond. They posit that when a municipal or county-level EOC is cross-housed with a University EOC, multiple opportunities for development and funding occur. Universities can provide the technical expertise, funding, staffing, development and testing for systems that serve the EOC. Most importantly, Universities also provide disaster-like events that can be used as proxies for unpredictable mass crises during which more valid and reliable testing can occur. The authors present preliminary findings from a text-to-emergency service currently in use by Penn State University Athletics.
Tapia, A. H., Giacobe, N. A., Soule, P. J., & LaLone, N. J. (2019). Scaling 911 Texting for Large-Scale Disasters: Developing Practical Technical Innovations for Emergency Management at Public Universities. In Emergency and Disaster Management: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications (pp. 707-720). IGI Global.