Its been awhile since RIM made a point of mentioning when it was recognized for being essential in emergency or critical situations. They are back at it with the International Medical Corps recognizing BlackBerry and RIM during its 2011 Annual Awards Celebration in Los Angeles next week. They are awarding BlackBerry for its critical role in assisting disaster relief efforts around the world including the earthquake in Haiti and the tsunami in Japan along with other disasters. Here are some of the quotes from the the IMC included in the announcement:
"We are recognizing Research In Motion with the Global Impact Award for the role of BlackBerry smartphones in our operations on the front lines," said Nancy A. Aossey, International Medical Corps President and CEO. "I can tell you that our use of BlackBerry smartphones literally saves lives."
As a first-responder following the earthquake in Haiti, International Medical Corps was on the ground within 22 hours treating patients and coordinating medical personnel, supplies and providing other relief.
"You just don’t know what kind of a setting you’re going to arrive in," said Dr. Neil Joyce, who has worked with International Medical Corps in Angola, Bosnia, and Afghanistan, among many others, and helped lead its Emergency Response Team in Haiti. "As we arrived in Port-au-Prince, the cell phones were not working, but I was able to send messages with my BlackBerry smartphone."
As part of the disaster relief efforts following the earthquake in Haiti and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Dr. Joyce arrived with a BlackBerry device in hand. He used it to coordinate the setup of mobile medical centers, organize physicians, communicate with the central hospital, and direct material and equipment to where it was needed. On several occasions in Haiti, the team used their BlackBerry smartphones to coordinate with pilots flying in relief supplies, and help direct them to functioning airstrips.
"In doing humanitarian aid, we need to make contact with relevant people who can help, like DART (Disaster Assistance Response Team), the military, the United Nations, the Red Cross, and other agencies, as well as the media," said Dr. Joyce. "BlackBerry puts you in contact with the people on the ground and the people on the outside who can help. We really could not have done aid work in the modern setting without a BlackBerry smartphone. It made a huge difference."
Margaret Aguirre, Director of Global Communications, was on International Medical Corps’ first Emergency Response Team that arrived in Haiti hours after the earthquake, also with a BlackBerry smartphone in hand.
"It is not only the device of choice, but the device of need," said Aguirre. "Doctors and nurses treating patients amid rubble and under trees were able to communicate with each other about patients needing immediate surgery and to coordinate the urgent transport of blood supplies. BlackBerry helps us communicate to get the materials to where they’re needed and to find out where things are in the moment of an emergency."
In Haiti, Aguirre used her BlackBerry handset to take photos and send updates to headquarters, as well as post images and information to Facebook and Twitter.
"Being able to upload pictures to social media was really important," she said. "Our social media posts in the early days enabled military personnel to know the needs of various humanitarian groups on the ground and where to direct assets."
Aguirre says, "It’s my personal lifeline, not just to be able to protect myself but to know I can get help right away if I need it. I can communicate with my family and let them know I’m alright. I did that after the second earthquake hit Haiti to let them know I was ok."