With its growing usage, mobile technology is greatly improving disaster relief and public safety efforts. Countries around the world face threats from natural disasters, climate change, civil unrest, terrorist attacks, and criminal activities, among others. Mobile devices, tablets, and smart phones enable emergency providers and the general public to manage these challenges and mitigate public safety concerns.
In this paper, part of the Brookings Mobile Economy Project, we focus on how mobile technology provides an early warning system, aids in emergency coordination, and improves public communications. In particular, we review how mobile devices assist with public safety, disaster planning, and crisis response. We explain how these devices are instrumental in the design and functioning of integrated, multi-layered communications networks. We demonstrate how they have helped save lives and ameliorate human suffering throughout the world.