Putting technology to the test – literally

National Grid helicopter and MEOC at company hangar in Syracuse, NY

National Grid helicopter and MEOC at company hangar in Syracuse, NY

The tools and technology in the company helicopter were primed and ready for the right hands. The recent addition of a Mission System Operator to man the controls completed the Aviation team, making the time right for extensive systems testing and training at the hangar in Syracuse, NY. The team scheduled a week in November to do just that, inviting FLIR, maker of the helicopter’s impressive sensor system and CarteNav, creator of its mapping and control software to the party. Our Mobile Emergency Operations Center (MEOC) has complementary systems, so the Emergency Planning team came to round out the super-tech guest list.

The goals of the event were two-fold: to experience the helicopter’s capabilities with vendor experts on-hand and to explore the integration of technology with the MEOC. The week was successful by all accounts.

Meetings and learning sessions were conducted right inside the MEOC’s spacious accommodations. Helicopter vendor partners also provided helpful insights into the MEOC’s own systems, making the sessions twice as valuable.

“The capabilities of these systems are immense,” said Aviation manager Michael Lawyea. “Learning the full range of what we can do will take some time, but we’re off to a really great start.”

A communications testing session was one of the week’s highlights, reaching from Syracuse all the way to Northborough, MA. While in flight, the helicopter downlinked video footage to the MEOC, which was shared in real time via live WebEx to a System Emergency Tabletop Exercise in progress. This demonstrated the unique resources that would be at our disposal in the event of a significant outage.

“There may be reasons preventing response teams from getting to the scene immediately. We can now provide visual acuity to damages, big or small, that we couldn’t before,’ Lawyea said.

“It was great for us to come together and see the technology in action,” said Emergency Planning project manager, Heather Shampine. “To get together with some of the smartest people and test out what we can do was really exciting!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *