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How to Manage a Crisis #015: How 360 degree images can assist in a crisis

By Elaine Doyle


In the USA Columbine school massacre, 13 people were killed and 21 wounded in just 16 minutes - yet it took first responders over 3 hours to find them. Why? First responders were working on outdated floor plans in an attempt to familiarise themselves with the building layouts as the crisis unfolded.

Using 360 degree video to digitally map premises provides an immersive experience for the viewer where a more comprehensive situational awareness can be obtained. 360 degree video is filmed using multi camera devices, termed ‘omni-directional video’. This allows the viewer to guide the experience by being able to scroll the view in any direction. This technology, which has been adopted in the real estate industry, can be extremely useful for crisis and emergency management.

In conventional images and video, the visual narration is told by the photographer. Using 360 degree video the technology empowers the viewer to guide the narration by scrolling to their areas of interest.

This technology could be useful for tradespeople needing to generate a quote for work on a part of your facility or for prospective guests looking to hire function space. Of significance to security, emergency and crisis managers though is how it could be used in responding to a critical incident.

The ability to virtually walk through a building is critical information for first responders who may be unfamiliar with the building’s layout. Building owners or facility managers can provide access to this virtual feed to first responders whether on-scene or back in their headquarters; drastically increasing the speed of response.

The technology then allows responders to study the footage to understand evacuation routes, identify potential hazards and understand what is located behind closed doors or in adjacent rooms.

Organisations using this technology can visually map their entire premises. In the event of a crisis the 360 degree video map can be made available to police and first responders to:

  • Understand the layout of a building

  • Reduce danger

  • Enable a faster response

  • Analyse the safest and most effective way to secure the building

  • Pre-empt a perpetrator’s options or next step

  • Understand how to evacuate and protect patrons

  • Manage the crisis effectively

  • Reduce the severity and length of a crisis

In a response to the high frequency of school shootings, Anaheim High School in California have digitally mapped their entire school premises. Other USA schools are following suit in creating 360 degree digital mapping of their school as an invaluable addition to their crisis and emergency response program.

For support in enhancing your crisis and emergency management program, contact the Crisis Shield team for a free initial consultation.

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