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Maui, Unavoidable Tragedy?

Maui, unavoidable tragedy?

By ProEsys Staff

Tragedies like Maui, the Hawaii island that was destroyed by the most lethal fire recorded in the United States since 2018, shock us and invite us to reflect. All these events took place on an island that was already equipped with its own alert system for natural catastrophes; we need, at this point, to take a step back and ask ourselves how and how much we use technology to protect ourselves. What would have happened is the network of pylons that feed the electricity grid had been monitored and had received the signal to cut off the feed in case of collapse? Would have it been possible to warn more people if the terrestrial infrastructure upon which the cellular network is based were not already damaged by the flames?

When we are confronted with such calamities, we do not have much margin to make sure they will not happen again, besides raising awareness among those who are in charge to safeguard infrastructures, ecosystems and human lives. In the case of Maui, for example, a monitoring system that tracks the verticality of pylons would have signaled with ample margin the first signs of infrastructural collapse, allowing for the interruption of the electricity feed once a safety threshold was exceeded. A dual terrestrial-satellite communication system would have remained operative in case of malfunctioning of the terrestrial network. A satellite IoT monitoring network would have allowed for seamless, real-time detection of the first fire outbreaks, the change in weather conditions, the characteristics of the terrain and the state of infrastructures way before a potential collapse.

Collecting and correlating data in real time with redundant, safe communication systems is the foundation for a system that supports decision making in times of emergency. Bi-directionality in satellite communication is a priceless added value that allows to intervene in a widespread manner in critical areas by interrupting the feed of service lines or by activating massive communication tools.