Team Rubicon UK deploys response teams to emergencies around the world, having run major operations since the 2015 Nepal earthquake, from Ecuador and Canada to Greece and even closer to home in the UK. Whilst on the ground, the team works with local charities and communities administering life-saving aid and helping to get infrastructure like hospitals, schools and roads up and running again.
Working fast and effectively is dependent on the teams’ ability to communicate in order to coordinate response efforts with other aid agencies, ensure the safety of their teams when they’re in the field and to share images and video describing what is going on for fundraising purposes. However, the emergencies that Team Rubicon respond to often mean that if communications infrastructure exists it is often damaged or overloaded. Moreover in rural areas this may not exist to begin with, making communications a significant challenge to the organisation.
Stuart Lane, Director of Field Operations at Team Rubicon in the UK, explained: “We are developing a wide variety of skillsets, so we can offer a range of emergency response solutions – from the early stages of disaster response, where a lot of the work is the immediate support of communities and assessment and prioritisation of tasks to protect lives, to the latter stages of reconstruction.
“A key part of disaster response and recovery is organisation and coordinating resources so that actions make the maximum impact. Communications are fundamental to establishing this – many people want to help in a disaster, but when they aren’t coordinated effectively they can actually hinder emergency response efforts. Establishing reliable communications methods in disaster situations is vital, so we needed to find a system that worked.”