Open Access

High Altitude Platforms for Disaster Recovery: Capabilities, Strategies, and Techniques for Emergency Telecommunications

EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking20082008:153469

Received: 4 November 2007

Accepted: 19 May 2008

Published: 5 August 2008


Natural disasters and terrorist acts have significant potential to disrupt emergency communication systems. These emergency communication networks include first-responder, cellular, landline, and emergency answering services such as 911, 112, or 999. Without these essential emergency communications capabilities, search, rescue, and recovery operations during a catastrophic event will be severely debilitated. High altitude platforms could be fitted with telecommunications equipment and used to support these critical communications missions once the catastrophic event occurs. With the ability to be continuously on station, HAPs provide excellent options for providing emergency coverage over high-risk areas before catastrophic incidents occur. HAPs could also provide enhanced 911 capabilities using either GPS or reference stations. This paper proposes potential emergency communications architecture and presents a method for estimating emergency communications systems traffic patterns for a catastrophic event.

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Authors’ Affiliations

Homeland Security Directorate, Idaho National Laboratory


© Juan D. Deaton. 2008

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.