Taiwan president sees Wi-Max as central to disaster prevention

After seeing how useful Wi-Max can be for emergency medical care, the president of Taiwan wants the wireless broadband technology employed as part of an island-wide communications strategy for preventing and responding to disaster situations.

Focus Taiwan reports that President Ma Ying-jeou is sold on the idea that Wi-Max can help reduce the human toll from landslides and flooding by helping authorities communicate data on river levels and other conditions. A typhoon in August 2009 resulted in deadly landslides and flooding.

Ma made the statement at an IT show in Taipei, where he saw a demonstration of how to save the life of a tourist suffering a heart attack while far from home. The patient had a GPS-enabled wireless heart monitor that sent automatic alerts--including the individual's location--to a health center, which contacted local emergency responders to send an ambulance. The ambulance had videoconferencing equipment that could connect via Wi-Max to physicians at the urban health center, who assisted the paramedics in saving the patient's life.

The unspecified technology has been able to rescue 8.5 percent of patients who are clinically dead upon arrival at a hospital, according to the Focus Taiwan report. The news service offered no further details.

For more about Ma's pronouncement:
- see this Focus Taiwan story

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