Logo preload
close Logo

Geolocation Data in Disaster Response: How Fulcrum is Making a Difference

November 10, 2023

The Power of Where in Emergencies

In the critical moments following a disaster, the ability to pinpoint and act upon geolocation data can be lifesaving. For utility companies, this information is the compass that directs the restoration efforts in a landscape where traditional landmarks may no longer exist. Geolocation data acts as a beacon, providing clarity amidst the confusion and enabling a swift return to normalcy.

Fulcrum’s Strategic Role in Streamlining Disaster Response

Fulcrum steps up where the stakes are high, offering a robust platform tailored for the critical moments following a disaster. It turns geolocation data into actionable insights, allowing utility companies to navigate disrupted landscapes and restore services with precision and speed. Fulcrum’s GIS integration is more than just a tool; it’s a support system for those on the front lines of service restoration.

Facing the Aftermath: The Challenge for Utilities

Disasters can strike with little warning, leaving a trail of destruction that disrupts essential services and plunges communities into darkness. Utility companies face the daunting task of quickly identifying the extent of damage to their infrastructure and prioritizing repair work. The challenge is compounded when familiar landmarks are wiped out, making the accurate assessment of damaged locations difficult. In such times, geolocation data becomes a critical asset for emergency and disaster management teams.

The Need for Real-Time Data and GIS in Post-Disaster Environments

Disaster zones are dynamic, demanding precise and current information. Real-time geolocation data actively feeds into GIS-first data collection applications, creating a constantly updated map of the crisis. This essential integration enables response teams to coordinate efforts effectively and make informed decisions using the latest ground-level data. Geographic specificity provides command centers with a detailed lay of the land, facilitating targeted triage and the dispatch of necessary resources. The result is a responsive and dynamic approach to disaster management, with GIS data playing a key role in orchestrating an effective response.

Navigating the Unrecognizable: Geolocation When Landmarks Fail

In the aftermath of a disaster, with the landscape altered and traditional navigation points gone, geolocation data serves as a critical navigational aid. It allows responders to pinpoint damaged utilities with accuracy, ensuring that repair crews can be dispatched to the exact locations without delay. This precision not only speeds up the response times but also ensures the safety of the crews by providing them with accurate situational awareness.

In the next sections, we’ll explore how Fulcrum’s platform leverages these GIS capabilities to provide a decisive advantage in utility disaster response, with a focus on a real-world application in two client use cases.

Rapid Response in Fresno County’s Wildfire Aftermath

Following the devastating Creek Fire in September 2020, Fresno County urgently required an efficient damage assessment method to address the extensive destruction. The county’s Public Works and Planning Department quickly adopted Fulcrum’s platform, transforming FEMA’s paper-based assessment process into a digital format within 24 hours. This rapid deployment was critical in collecting necessary data to understand the full scope of the damage.

Fulcrum’s platform provided significant advantages to the county’s disaster response efforts. The digital conversion of assessment forms accelerated the delivery of information to FEMA, which was essential for hastening aid and reconstruction initiatives. The platform’s integration with the county’s GIS system was seamless, allowing for the direct export of approximately 8,500 records related to road conditions and other infrastructure elements. This feature enabled real-time updates from the field, offering a live feed of the damage to decision-makers and aid coordinators.

The design of Fulcrum’s app was notably user-friendly, which was particularly beneficial when utilizing volunteers and staff with varying levels of experience. The intuitive interface ensured that accurate and thorough data collection was possible with minimal training. This ease of use, combined with the app’s ability to handle diverse data types – including images, GPS coordinates, and detailed annotations – was crucial for a comprehensive and swift response to the crisis.

In summary, the success of Fresno County in managing post-wildfire assessments underscores the effectiveness of Fulcrum’s platform in emergency situations. Its quick setup, ease of use, and ability to integrate with existing systems demonstrate how the right technology can significantly improve disaster management and recovery processes.

Aftermath of a California forest fire

GeoForce’s Proactive Approach to Emergency Power Restoration

GeoForce Utility Technologies provides essential services to keep electricity flowing, specializing in the inspection and upkeep of utility poles and other infrastructure, and responding to emergencies that disrupt power. It utilizes Fulcrum’s platform to streamline its field operations.

In emergency storm scenarios, GeoForce leverages Fulcrum to provide immediate and informed responses. The platform’s real-time data capabilities allow GeoForce to quickly identify and assess damage, ensuring that emergency response teams can address the most pressing issues without delay. Fulcrum’s app supports GeoForce’s emergency storm response by enabling crews to start from any location with just an address or coordinates, follow the trail of damage, and report back with detailed, actionable data that relies upon GIS coordinates, not landmarks which may have changed or disappeared in the aftermath of the outage-causing incident.

GeoForce’s use of Fulcrum not only improved its operational response times but also provided a reliable way to manage and report on the status of electrical infrastructure, ensuring safety and efficiency in its emergency storm response services.
Fallen tree and power line in aftermath of severe weather event

The Impact of Fulcrum on Utility Disaster Response

The integration of Fulcrum’s geolocation technology in utility disaster response workflows marks a significant improvement in both efficiency and accuracy. By enabling real-time data collection and sharing, utility companies can rapidly assess damage, allocate resources, and execute restoration plans with precision. This reduces the time spent on manual data entry, increases the accuracy of reports, and allows for a more direct route to recovery efforts.

The positive impact of Fulcrum is best illustrated through the testimonials of those who have experienced its benefits first-hand. Fresno County’s Public Works and Planning Department, for example, reported a substantial decrease in the time required to assess and report damage, leading to faster FEMA aid processing and community service restoration. Similarly, GeForce’s testimony reveals how Fulcrum’s platform has streamlined its emergency response time, resulting in reduced operational downtime and enhanced service delivery to affected areas.

The use of Fulcrum’s platform in disaster response not only addresses immediate recovery needs but also contributes to a broader strategy for disaster preparedness. By adopting Fulcrum, utility companies can build a robust framework for data management that stands ready to be activated in the event of future emergencies. This proactive approach to disaster management ensures that utilities are better equipped to handle the unexpected, ultimately leading to more resilient infrastructure and communities.

How Fulcrum Supports Disaster Recovery

We’ve seen the significant role that Fulcrum plays during and after a disaster. Its GIS-first data collection software cuts through the complexity of crisis management, offering a streamlined, accessible way for communities to recover. By allowing utility companies to gather real-time data and mesh it with GIS systems, Fulcrum enables quick, life-saving decisions and efficient service restoration.

Infrastructure resilience becomes paramount in a disaster’s wake. Fulcrum’s technology streamlines the complex process of disaster response, offering clear and actionable insights even amid chaos. For emergency operation leaders, Fulcrum isn’t just a tool – it’s a cornerstone of modern disaster preparedness and response. It ensures that you have precise location data when it matters most, enhancing the accuracy and effectiveness of your efforts.

By choosing Fulcrum, you’re not only addressing today’s emergencies but also fortifying your readiness for tomorrow’s challenges. Fulcrum’s robust GIS integration turns data collection into a powerful asset for building a resilient future, helping communities to not just recover but to thrive in the face of adversity.

Discover Fulcrum for Emergency Response Management

Ready to see how Fulcrum can transform your disaster response efforts? Our experts are here to help you harness the full potential of GIS-integrated data collection for smarter, swifter emergency response. Sign up for your free, no-obligation demo today!