Emergency and disaster management
Did you know?
- Around 18,000 people are helped and 2,200 lives are saved in Canada each year by Coast Guards using space technologies.
By providing accurate and timely information and connecting emergency response teams, satellites play a critical role supporting first responders and search and rescue teams in emergency situations.
First responders use navigation systems to locate and monitor individuals or identify the origin of a 911 emergency call. They can also use satellite imagery to better understand the extent of a situation.
Search and Rescue teams use satellites to find and rescue people in distress. The international Satellite System for Search and Rescue (Cospas-Sarsat) supports the detection and location of emergency beacons activated by aircraft, ships and backcountry hikers in distress. Globally, about five people are rescued each day by teams dependent on this system.
Disasters such as earthquakes, floods, wildfires and oil spills can be devastating. From predicting some disasters before they occur to providing critical information and services to responders on the ground, satellites are essential to effective planning and relief operations.
Images taken from space can provide an overall picture of the damage and show the areas that may be difficult to access because of the disaster. Satellites also ensure that rescue teams are connected (even when ground communications networks are down), making interactions on logistics possible and supporting telemedicine activities.
Pooling international resources to support disaster management
Established in 2000, the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters is a joint effort to put space technology at the service of rescue and emergency responders in the event of a major disaster. When the Charter is activated, its members make satellite images of devastated regions available to support relief efforts. Armed quickly with reliable and accurate information, response teams are better equipped to save lives and limit damage to property, infrastructure and the environment. The Canadian Space Agency is a founding member of the Charter.
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