The Role of IoT in Disaster Management and Emergency Response


In the last few years, there has been a rise in natural calamities like hurricanes, floods, fires, and earthquakes resulting in major devastation to life and property.

Such disasters need to be well managed and coordinated to avoid their repercussion and save lives. In such circumstances, technology is needed and the Internet of Things (IoT) has become very useful in disaster management and emergency response.

What is Disaster Management?

Disaster management is the concept of preparing, responding, and recovering from natural or human-created disasters. It incorporates numerous approaches including risk assessment, emergency response, and long-term recovery planning. The goal of disaster management is to reduce casualty and infrastructure loss caused by disasters.

IoT in Disaster Management

IoT stands for an interrelated set of devices that can take, share, and analyze data without the involvement of humans. It is capable of revolutionizing the conventional disaster management system by providing up-to-the-moment data, which will enhance response coordination, and improve the whole process efficiency.

The important function of IoT to manage disasters is to facilitate timely and efficient decision-making. Using IoT-enabled environmental monitoring devices like sensors, cameras, and drones, authorities can collect real-time data on the intensity of disaster and its impact on the affected areas. This data will assist them in decision-making and in acting fast upon the situation.

IoT in Disaster Management Applications

IoT can be applied across all the different stages of disaster management, starting from preparedness through response and recovery.

1. Disaster Preparedness: IoT in disaster preparedness can be used to collect information related to risks in a certain area. Such information can be used to formulate holistic disaster preparedness plans, identify susceptible areas, and take preventive approaches to limit the impact of disasters. As an example, sensors installed in high-risk flood areas notify of increasing water levels, therefore, enabling authorities to take preventive actions to thwart the damage.

2. Emergency Response Coordination: During a disaster, good communication and coordination among different response teams are important. The IoT can enable prompt and continuous communication and data flow to the first responders, emergency managers, and relief organizations. This would allow effective asset utilization, and timely evacuation of the areas affected, and would also support coordination of rescue and relief operations.

3. Damage Assessment: Assessment of the infrastructure damage and determination of the recovery resources is of critical importance after the disaster. IoT devices can also facilitate the process with which real-time data on the extent of the damage is provided. Such drones may be in the form of cameras wearable drones that can photograph or film damaged areas allowing the authorities to assess the situation with minimal human risk.

4. Recovery Planning: The IoT could also greatly aid long-term recovery of affected areas. By evaluating the data collected during the disaster, the authorities are able to identify the areas that need immediate attention as well as the long-term recuperation measures. For example, by analyzing the data from the sensors, the authorities can determine the possible locations where the landslides are likely to occur and thus prevent the disaster from happening in the future.

Benefits of IoT During Disaster Management Process

The use of IoT technologies in disaster management can bring several benefits, including:

1. Speed and Accuracy: IoT devices collect live data and provide real-time updates of what is happening in order for the emergency responders to react timely and precisely. This leads to increased reaction times and reduced significance of disasters.

2. Cost-Efficiency: The IoT aids in improving the efficiency of resource allocation due to the fact that it facilitates the collection and analysis of real-time data, thereby diminishing the entire cost of disaster management assets.

3. Enhanced Safety: The devices of the Internet of Things can operate in dangerous conditions, making it possible to gather data and monitor the situation right away without putting human lives at risk.

4. Operational Efficiency: One of the things done by IoT is that automation of the disaster management process overall, making very little manual labor and effective team coordination among other tasks.

Adoption of Internet of Things technologies in disaster management leads to a number of positive consequences such as speed, accuracy, cost-effectiveness, and safety improvement, which can be easily achieved by adopting the use of IoT software solutions.

Process of Disaster Management

IoT can be used in all the stages of disaster management, which is a multi-phased process.

1. Mitigation: This step focuses on mitigating measures used to control the damage caused by disasters. It consists of risk analysis, identification of susceptible areas and preventive actions to reduce the severity of hazards. Using IoT devices, authorities can collect live data that can be used to analyze environmental conditions, determine risks, and vulnerable areas. This information makes it possible to create full readiness plans and apply preventative measures from the place of an appropriate data understanding.

2. Preparedness: This phase is characterized by making readiness for possible disasters through planning, training, and public communication. The stage could be supported by IoT that will give real-time data of the coming threat and help the authorities communicate with the public. For example, during a hurricane, authorities can timely issue warnings and evacuation instructions to the residents in the affected areas through IoT-based devices like smartphones and smart speakers.

3. Response: This is the operational stage when an actual response to the disaster is done: search and rescue, medical support, and resource allocation. In this case, Internet of Things technologies could supply immediate data that would help the authorities in making decisions and acting effectively in response efforts. For instance, IoT devices including drones and sensors can collect information on the level of damage and identify critical areas, allowing rescuers to make decisions regarding which people need help first to save lives and allocate resources efficiently.

4. Recovery: The last phase of disaster management is the rehabilitation and reconstruction of affected areas. IoT can help in this by providing information about the extent of damage and enabling authorities to prepare for long-term recovery actions. From the analysis of the data that is collected during the disaster, the authorities can easily know the areas that are the highest risk possible and thus take some preventive measures that will help to avoid the occurrence of similar disasters in the future.

IoT will enable the improvement of disaster management processes through accurate data, efficient communication and coordination, and rational resource allocation. Introduction of Internet of Things technologies allows the overall efficiency of disaster management to improve, and the impacts of disasters on human lives and infrastructure to be minimized.


Digitalizing disaster through IoT has the capability to totally change our way of addressing natural disasters. Real-time data delivery, better coordination, and overall streamlining of the process by IOT can make an essential contribution to the minimization of disaster’s impact and saving lives. Internet of Things-enabled environmental monitoring is the core of disaster management and is necessary for effective coordination and decision-making in disasters.