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Technology team builds emergency management gateway for UH campus
 
Emergency response has become a way of life. Safety and security are what many of us think about from day to day. Although, many of us hesitate to talk or think about what we would do in emergencies on a campus, we do expect that systems be in place to respond quickly and intelligently.

“In most cases, information and communications are the keys to the successful deployment of an emergency management program,” said Joe S. Méndez, Director, Emergency Management at UH.

Engineering Technology professor Dr. Deniz Gurkan and network communications graduate student Parth Gala have invented a solution that will be deployed throughout the UH Central Campus system. Funded by the UH Department of Public Safety, the new emergency management portal will become a production level support system for the Department of Emergency Management this year. Parth’s interest in software coding and network communications led him to continue working on the project started by Huy Vo and Anand Daga, who graduated with degrees in network communications  and computer science, respectively, in 2012.

Based on a map of the UH Central Campus, the interface produces a real time live feed that streams a wealth of critical information. It is easily integrated into the digital domain server or any web-based service domain.

“We are envisioning that this will prove to be an important component as we continue to improve the way we process information and respond to emergencies,” said Méndez. “Typically, our team has only minutes to gather data and make vitally important decisions. This portal allows us to access the data more quickly and easily.”

Using the interface, operators can click and find things quickly, access the data, and even send emergency notifications and dispatches.

“We are thrilled to have a system that solves a real problem through this collaboration between the College of Technology and the Department of Public Safety,” said Dr. Gurkan.

“Often times, institutions rely entirely on ‘off the shelf’ mass notification systems with text messaging and email software solutions to address emergency challenges. Our portal concept is unique because we have a customized system that is built to our needs,” Méndez said.