As hurricane Laura has made landfall and hundreds of thousands of peoples lost power, the electric utility sector sprang into action. More than 20,000 utility workers from at least 28 states and Canada are working to help restore power. While the energy and utilities sector must deal with responding to natural disasters on an annual basis, this year the situation is complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Response teams are expected to follow COVID-19 protocols, including keeping crews as separate as possible and coordinating screenings. As has often been the case with organizations finding ways to be efficient during the pandemic, this means finding ways to communicate and coordinate using technology. But when it comes to picking the right tools, especially for emergency response, what should the electric utility sector look for?

The ability to communicate anytime, anywhere

Following COVID-19 protocols has meant that utility crews are more dispersed than usual – with situations like one person per truck and hotel room. In these scenarios, crews need a way to simply and easily communicate with many people across multiple devices – whether that’s a smartphone, tablet or laptop. It’s critical to use a communication tool that lets you reach out to individuals, work as teams, and broadcast any core messages. Being able to schedule messages in advance and specify which groups receive those messages is a must when you’re working on a time crunch and need to make sure everyone gets the right information.

The ability to be versatile

In the current context, emergency response has the added dimension of regularly screening crew members for COVID-19. It’s not a simple task – crews need have to handle the challenge of how to screen crew members while social distancing and how to share information about any symptoms. But what if you could use the same tool you use for communication to let crew members self-screen and report symptoms? Look for tools that are versatile and let you do this.

The ability to quickly send key documents to the right place

When responding to an emergency like restoring power as a result of a hurricane, crews don’t have time to send key documents conventionally – like over fax. Opting for communication tools that will let you scan critical documents from any location and then immediately send it to the right place is absolutely key.

All of this may seem like an impossible ask for a single tool but it’s not. Vaporstream is meeting the needs of the energy and utilities sector by providing a mobile messaging platform that makes it easy to communicate, offers automated daily COVID-19 screenings and makes it simple to securely scan and send documents to individuals or backend systems. Learn more about how we can support your needs here.