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CSR Program: Tactical Operations

Expertise and equipment to restore communications after disaster

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When disaster strikes, crippled communication systems can hinder relief efforts. Cisco’s Tactical Operations (TacOps) team can establish satellite-based communications so government agencies and humanitarian organizations can coordinate relief efforts and speed food, water, and medical care to those in need.

What: Establishing IP-based communications in emergencies

People, processes, data, and things are becoming more connected, making technology critical to any disaster response. Cisco can send the TacOps team to any disaster situation with technology and the expertise to establish emergency networks for first responders and relief organizations.

  • TacOps works with FEMA, the United Nations, the American Red Cross, and other organizations to create interoperable communications between first responders.
  • Engineers design and install communications equipment while operations coordinators manage logistics and planning on site.
  • The Disaster Incident Response Team (DIRT) is a group of trained Cisco volunteers worldwide who support TacOps and can respond quickly during crises.

How: Mobile, networked command centers

Two Cisco Network Emergency Response Vehicles (NERVs) act as mobile communication centers, bringing networking and communications capabilities over satellite, 4G, and other channels to disaster sites. Communications trailers, portable emergency communications kits (ECKs), and smaller vehicles with satellite capabilities provide additional support.

  • The TacOps team is comprised of 9 full-time employees based at Cisco’s San Jose, California and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina campuses.
  • TacOps engineers and operations coordinators possess years of specialized experience in military operations, planning, logistics, and fire and emergency medical response.
  • Each NERV is outfitted with a 1.8-meter satellite dish, Cisco Unified IP Phones, Cisco TelePresence solution, and other options for Internet connectivity.
  • ECKs contain routing and switching hardware, IP telephones, and fax capabilities to bring network connectivity to even the harshest and most hard-to-reach environments.

Impact Multiplied

Since 2005, the TacOps team has deployed to 28 different disasters around the world and participated in 16 training exercises around the world.

  • In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, TacOps connected first responders in the Philippines to the rest of the world, enabling them to provide water, food, medical care, and other essentials to survivors.
  • After Hurricane Sandy hit the U.S. East Coast in 2012, the team restored communications to public safety organizations and deployed new, temporary networking equipment for relief agencies.
  • At the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs in 2012, TacOps established an open wireless network to support 500 firefighters and support staff.
  • TacOps participates in many community events, including a Girl Scouts Science Camp in 2014, where they used tours of the NERV truck to educate girls on careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

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TacOps - Providing emergency communications 24/7