Emergency preparedness and capacity development


A core goal of TSF is to transfer its skills and experience to local governments and NGOs, so that they can themselves use ICT when they face emergencies in their geographic areas of interest. In order to enable optimum efficiency and coordination of local response structures, TSF has for the last 5 years been developing and running disaster relief and preparedness training programs in the field of emergency telecommunications; these courses are open to the global community of humanitarian aid workers. 2011 was the opportunity for TSF to pursue and cement these training and capacity building programs in the Philippines and Haiti. Today, TSF thus also specializes in reinforcing the capability of relief organisations and national disaster response agencies at an emergency telecommunications level.


Emergency ICT training program
To advance the goal of improving local response capabilities, TSF has developed and runs disaster relief and preparedness training programs. We bring staff from a wide range of local government agencies, NGOs, and UN agencies to training locations in Asia and Latin America. We train these staff on: (1) how to choose, deploy and use the latest ICT tools in emergencies; (2) how to prepare before a deployment; (3) how to create effective deployment budgets and how to deploy in cost-effective manners; and (4) how to coordinate with other responders in the field. The training includes classroom training sessions including theoretical presentations, hands-on sessions, and simulation exercises. Trainees who successfully complete the training are certified and gain access to an emergency ICT response web portal where they have access to the training materials, updates, and can communicate with their peer ICT responders throughout the world. We generally train personnel from the same geographic region at the same training, in an effort to create a community of responders who all have similar training and know each other ahead of field deployments, which improves performance in missions.


ICT response plans and equipment
Reinforcing national emergency response systems

In addition to the immediate assistance provided after the disaster, TSF works to reinforce certain countries disaster response systems by providing emergency telecom kits to local relief organizations and training them in their use. We focus these efforts on some of the world’s most disaster-prone countries where TSF telecoms assessments reveal that improvement to communication systems will have a direct impact on saving lives and providing timely assistance during future disasters. TSF works with these countries to select and pre-position equipment that local ICT responders will need. The kits include satellite communications and IT equipment (“an office in a box” with phone, fax, and Internet capability), and can also include power supplies, so that when commercial infrastructure is down, offices can stay connected, report and coordinate with the central agency. The beneficiary organizations are trained to the use and the deployment of the kits’ equipment.


TSF's contribution to UN Disaster Preparedness Trainings & Meetings
TSF's contribution to international conferences on humanitarian response

In addition, TSF is regularly requested to share knowledge on emergency telecommunications equipment during general training sessions and meetings (e.g. UNDAC Courses, INSARAG Earthquake simulation Exercises, Asia Pacific Humanitarian Partnership Workshops on Disaster Preparedness and Response, IFRC FACT Training, IFRC Telecoms Training, ECHO Staff Training, Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) Plenary Meetings, Working Group on Emergency Telecommunications Plenary Meetings, etc). Every year, from its regional offices, TSF is asked to support these activities. As part of its agreement with OCHA and its status of first responder within the ETC Cluster, TSF runs the emergency telecommunications modules of the courses. TSF estimates that 600 people benefited from those trainings.