Author | Marcos MartinezIt is 8:00 p.m. in Smart City and the Sun is going down. Various areas light up on the Emergency Control Centre screen. They are simply messages to indicate that various automated emergency systems are up and running. Police vehicles are called to specific districts, an ambulance sets off and a fire warning is issued.There have not been any altercations yet, nobody has been injured and there is no fire. But the series of algorithms that help to manage the workload have seen behaviours on social media and they trigger police alarms, an activity tracker has identified abnormal cardiac patterns and an area near the city has a low relative humidity. The city is awake.
What does an emergency system do?Tasks coordinated by a modern emergency system can go far beyond theft or fire alarm warnings. For example, “Gunfire locator” is a gunfire detection system, which consists of microphones located in the city of Oakland (California, United States). If a gunshot is detected, an algorithm triangulates the position and sends the nearest patrol car. Since 2012, when the system was installed, firearm “incidents” have dropped from 671 per square mile to 228, 66%.This is one of the hundreds of projects that cities are testing for their emergency control centres. Often these offices tend to integrate all types of emergencies and, for years now, they are grouped together under a single freephone number 112 in the European Union, 911 in the US, etc.Therefore, when an event of any sort occurs, the emergency is addressed from the same coordinated place, thus integrating the police force, the fire department and health care services.
What a call to the emergencies triggersA phone call to the emergency services triggers an emergency response protocol following very strict guidelines. Generally, the order of action is as follows:
- Collect information: what is happening and where
- Notifying in real time
- Eliminating duplicities
- Transferring calls to specialist departments