7/7 Bombings Report – Lessons Learnt
The recently announced London Regional Resilience Report into the events of the July 7th 2005 bombings, once again highlighted the outstanding response of the police and emergency services to the tragic events of that day. The report brings into sharp focus the additional strain under which these services had to operate due to an over reliance on mobile phones to communicate during the emergency. The report stated: “Responders must not rely on mobile phones for critical functions in a crisis. Emergency responders need to have dedicated communications that will work in an emergency.” Paging was referred to more than 6 times within the report. The use of paging within a robust, multi-channel communication strategy was highlighted as one of the key lessons to be learnt from the events on July 7th. Additional points raised (with comments from PageOne) include: * Rely less on single source communication channels like mobile phone networks that become inundated during emergencies. (When mobile phone networks were overwhelmed on 7/7, PageOne’s messaging proved itself a robust and reliable way for users to keep in touch.) * Paging should be used so long as it is truly independent of other networks. (PageOne is the UK’s largest independent paging provider and has invested several million pounds over the last five years modernising and developing its paging and messaging infrastructure to provide a highly resilient communication solution designed to operate reliably under extreme disaster scenarios) * Paging can enable messages to get through when mobile phone networks are congested. The City of London Police successfully used its pager alert scheme on 7 July to provide key business personnel with incident progress information. (PageOne operates [in conjunction with its partner Vocal Ltd] the City of London Alert Scheme that now has in excess of 2,000 members. It was originally set up as the City of London Bomb Watch Scheme in 1998 to alert businesses to a range of issues from localised crime through to business continuity situations.) With the NHS Emergency Planners Exhibition taking place on Wednesday 27th September 2006, PageOne welcomes the findings of the report and its reiteration that paging must continue to play a very important role in providing real time information to many organisations in both emergency and day to day situations. The report goes on to add that “Very soon after 7th July, LAS (London Ambulance Service) purchased pagers to alert and inform key roles without relying on mobile phones.” PageOne provides this service to the LAS, along with its critical messaging systems to many of the train operating companies into London, London Underground, most London hospitals, including both the North and South London Strategic Health Authorities. PageOne’s critical messaging systems provide paging, sms and email distribution for all real time applications. A PDF copy of the full London Regional Resilience Report is available upon request. Paging services are mentioned on pages 7, 20, 27,37,38 and 39.