The Pan American (Pan Am) Games are a multiple day, multi-sport event held every four years and include participants from nations across North and South America. Its sister event, the Parapan American Games, is held at the same time for athletes with physical disabilities. The first Pan Am Games were held in 1951, while the Parapan American Games were added in 1999.
This year, the 2015 Pan Am Games (July 10-16, 2015) and Parapan American Games (August 7-15, 2015), collectively known as the PPAG, were held in Toronto, Canada and the Greater Golden Horseshoe region. The Games hosted 6,132 athletes from 41 countries in addition to about 25,000 visitors and 4,000 media personnel in from out of town. There were a total of 30 competition venues across 14 municipalities for the 364 events comprised of 36 sports. It was the largest multi-sport event ever hosted in Canada. To compare, the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and Paralympic Games held in Vancouver had 2,600 athletes, 86 events, and 13 venues.
An event of this magnitude takes years of planning and a great deal of coordination among all responsible parties. Finding the right tools to help agencies coordinate with each other and manage the various aspects of the games was a high priority during the planning phase. To facilitate communication and coordination throughout the Games, several organizations opted to purchase a DisasterLAN (DLAN) Incident Management System prior to the PPAG. DLAN was developed by Buffalo Computer Graphics (BCG) and is a highly secure, fully mobile, web-based incident management system. Although the software was originally designed for use in incident management, it is easily adaptable to the needs of event coordinators. Its roots in incident management gives the system an advantage in its ability to be scaled up if a preplanned event turns into a major incident.
Organizations who opted to use DLAN for the PPAG included the Toronto Organizing Committee for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games (TO2015), Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO), City of Toronto, and Halton Region. These agencies differed in their PPAG-specific needs and their longterm incident management goals. TO2015 and MTO licensed the system solely for the event, while the City of Toronto and Halton Region plan to keep their system as a permanent part of their larger emergency management operations. Each organization also utilized the system at different capacities and for different purposes during the Games. Below is a short description of each organization, their function during the Games, and their priorities when selecting an event management solution.
All of the participants agreed that DLAN improved their ability to manage the Games. Fortunately, no major incident occurred that would have required agencies to scale up their system and utilize emergency response functions. Carl Higgins, City of Toronto, noted, “They got practice in the system and practice on the protocols but didn’t really get to see how the system would perform during an incident.” From an emergency management perspective, the Games were uneventful. This did give users a chance to gain experience using the system in a non-emergency setting. Laura James, City of Toronto, notes, “Since the weather cooperated and there were no major incidents, the event allowed us to really get comfortable with the system.” DLAN was also very useful for normal event management functions, specifically in the areas of creating a common operational platform and enhancing situational awareness.
DLAN also increased situational awareness across all organizations. Steve Lonz, UTCC Municipal Representative for Peel Region (MTO), notes, “Having multiple users provide updates keeps information timely and accurate.” Configurable status boards allowed users to see the most pertinent information at any time including tickets, social media feeds, live video images, incident trackers, and GIS maps. Jeremy Frederickson, MTO, noted that it helped with bringing all the partners together and keeping everyone informed via the incident tracker. He concluded, “DLAN was a key piece to keeping everyone coordinated and informed.” DLAN’s situational awareness tools ensured everyone could quickly view the most up-todate information throughout the Games.
FutureShield is the Canadian partner for DLAN Software. FutureShield's Cynthia Weeden worked with the Canadian organizations and DLAN to help bring DLAN Incident Management Software to the Pan-Parapan Am games in Toronto, 2015.
FutureShield Inc. was founded in Toronto, Canada in 2005 on the premise that there is a strong need for domain expertise in integrating software solutions for security, emergency management, and critical infrastructure protection
BCG is a global provider of Incident Management Software, Mass Notification Systems, Maritime Training Solutions, and Custom Hardware & Software Engineering.
Cynthia Weeden FutureShield, President [email protected] (866) 675-7835
FutureShield and the FutureShield logo are registered trademarks or trademark of FutureShield Inc. All other trademarks and trade names are the property of their respective owners and are used here for identification purposes only.Return To The Press Room