Why Quick and Easy Data Management Is Crucial in Times of Crisis

The ability to gather information with the touch of a button was once revolutionary. Now, it’s not only expected but essential. Especially when data is collected and shared remotely, as has become the norm during COVID-19, a flexible and accessible data management system is the key to continuity of services in the public safety arena.

The essential exchange of information

The COVID-19 shutdown of 2020 prompted nations worldwide to shutter their economies and shelter in place for months. The pandemic highlighted the importance of being able to access, process, and share reliable information during an ongoing emergency.

Amid inconsistent media and government reports and contradictory medical models, states faced frantic requests for hospital beds, ventilators, and medical supplies, not to mention panic among consumers—adding unnecessary chaos and frenzy to an already overwhelming situation.

The COVID-19 emergency illustrates one of the many advantages of having an effective data management system when quick decisions must be made.

Shortening the decision cycle when time is critical

Even before the pandemic, public safety organizations were challenged to do more with less. A smart and effective strategy designed specifically to maximize the use of information technology can help law enforcement, emergency responders, fire departments, and other public safety groups better protect the public and provide reliable and efficient service.

Finding and accessing this information on the fly is important. It’s estimated that in 2020, fire departments are dealing with 40 times more data points than they were just five years prior.

Fire and police departments are expected to quickly track and retrieve data that will give them valuable information before even arriving on location. The ability to quickly determine who has appropriate training can help commanders effectively deploy their personnel in specialized situations. If data on training and certifications are stored in a comprehensive training management system such as the Acadis® Readiness Suite, those records can be found with just a few clicks.

Tracking exposures, contact tracing, and rapid personnel deployment

Firefighters have long known the value of tracking their on-the-job exposures to dangerous chemicals and pollutants. The online platform FirstForward incorporates exposure tracking technology to help first responders easily record any incident that might later be related to a health concern. This technology is equally effective in tracking virus exposure and facilitating contact tracing.

In addition, an accessible and smartly functional data management system can make a huge difference in the field, where every second counts. The ability to access and dispense data in real time makes it easier to effectively allocate personnel and resources. For example, when COVID-19 illnesses and quarantines took a toll on staffing, agencies with Acadis could easily retrieve records of qualified retired and reserve officers, and quickly deploy them to fill the gaps. Even if personnel were working from home, the data could be updated and retrieved using any web-enabled device, so there was no gap in functionality that would have cost precious time.

Enhancing public confidence while saving time and money

This level of flexibility and transparency in emergency situations can play a huge role in increasing confidence and trust among involved participants and the public. Good data management can also reduce the time spent on administrative tasks, help avoid duplicate efforts, and produce vital data that provides insightful metrics for training and analytic purposes.

Knowing where to go for answers is a start, but the ability to get those answers quickly and apply them in real time is becoming more essential every day.

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Posted on Jan 19, 2021