Campus: San Diego State University -- January 24, 2003

SDSU Hosts Emergency Readiness Drill During Super Bowl Weekend

Personnel on Campus, in Field to Monitor Environment Around Stadium, Communicate with Doctors, Law Enforcement Officials

San Diego State University will use the Super Bowl this weekend to test a network of some of the most advanced communications tools available for responding to manmade and natural disasters.

The exercise, called Shadow Bowl, is designed to test the ability of emergency workers to use live video, audio and environmental sensoring equipment to communicate real-time with medical professionals anywhere in the world.

David Warner, an adjunct faculty member of SDSU’s College of Sciences, developed the Shadow Bowl to show how the best communication technologies available from companies around the country can work in concert to respond to and contain the effects of large disasters.

“When disaster strikes, whether it’s the heavy hand of nature or the horrific result of terrorists, the people in the field need the best information available,” Warner said. “Shadow Bowl will show just how fast a community can respond in the event of a medical, environmental or security situation that exceeds the ability of what local agencies can handle.”

About 200 people from more than 100 participating companies and agencies will participate in the exercise, which will include earthquake drills and test medical emergencies. They will employ free-space optical and high-performance optical and wireless technologies to gather information from the field, and transmit the data through SDSU to medical and response agencies around the United States.

About 100 volunteers playing victims and field workers with various sensors, cameras and other communications equipment will be stationed near Qualcomm Stadium for the drills, wearing shirts that identify them as Shadow Bowl participants. The drill will start midday Saturday and run through the conclusion of the Super Bowl on Sunday evening. Once the drill starts, the field workers will be able to speak directly with doctors in Virginia, New York, Alabama and elsewhere, and with officials at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

The tests will be conducted independent of the real-world police, fire and medical teams on hand for security for the Super Bowl. Official agencies are aware of the exercise and, should disaster strike, the Shadow Bowl team could be called into action.

“If something were to happen, we are ready to respond,” Warner said. “That is what this is all about. We will learn just how well we can monitor, process and distribute images and biological information in real-time, and the effectiveness with which we can marshal national medical resources to respond to a local event.”

Warner said law enforcement agencies see the Shadow Bowl as a possible template for homeland security efforts, while medical agencies see the exercise as a testing ground for dealing with horrific disasters such as the 1997 earthquake that killed upwards of 20,000 people in Turkey or the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Additionally, this technology can be used for humanitarian assistance in Third World countries, which lack the communication infrastructure needed to respond to large crises.

CONTACT: Jason Foster SDSU Marketing & Communications
(619) 594-2585, foster@mail.sdsu

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