International Medical Corps will recognizing RIM at its annual awards celebration next week for their role in aiding disaster recovery efforts around the world. BlackBerry devices have helped doctors, nurses and others in communicating in disaster areas at times when cell phones and land lines were not working. BlackBerry data has been an integral part of relief efforts across the globe.
Waterloo, ON - International Medical Corps is recognizing Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ: RIMM; TSX: RIM) at its 2011 Annual Awards Celebration in Los Angeles next week for the role of BlackBerry® smartphones in assisting disaster recovery efforts around the world. International Medical Corps is a global, humanitarian, nonprofit organization that is a leading first-responder, providing medical assistance and healthcare to populations that have been impacted by natural disasters, conflict, and disease. Other International Medical Corps award recipients this year include its Darfur Country Director Dr. Solomon Kebede, long-time supporter Andrew Barth, Wells Fargo, and actress and global ambassador Sienna Miller.
"We are recognizing Research In Motion with the Global Impact Award for the role of BlackBerry smartphones in our operations on the front lines," said Nancy A. Aossey, International Medical Corps President and CEO. "I can tell you that our use of BlackBerry smartphones literally saves lives."
As a first-responder following the earthquake in Haiti, International Medical Corps was on the ground within 22 hours treating patients and coordinating medical personnel, supplies and providing other relief.
"You just don't know what kind of a setting you're going to arrive in," said Dr. Neil Joyce, who has worked with International Medical Corps in Angola, Bosnia, and Afghanistan, among many others, and helped lead its Emergency Response Team in Haiti. "As we arrived in Port-au-Prince, the cell phones were not working, but I was able to send messages with my BlackBerry smartphone."
As part of the disaster relief efforts following the earthquake in Haiti and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Dr. Joyce arrived with a BlackBerry device in hand. He used it to coordinate the setup of mobile medical centers, organize physicians, communicate with the central hospital, and direct material and equipment to where it was needed. On several occasions in Haiti, the team used their BlackBerry smartphones to coordinate with pilots flying in relief supplies, and help direct them to functioning airstrips.
"In doing humanitarian aid, we need to make contact with relevant people who can help, like DART [Disaster Assistance Response Team], the military, the United Nations, the Red Cross, and other agencies, as well as the media," said Dr. Joyce. "BlackBerry puts you in contact with the people on the ground and the people on the outside who can help. We really could not have done aid work in the modern setting without a BlackBerry smartphone. It made a huge difference."
Margaret Aguirre, Director of Global Communications, was on International Medical Corps' first Emergency Response Team that arrived in Haiti hours after the earthquake, also with a BlackBerry smartphone in hand.
"It is not only the device of choice, but the device of need," said Aguirre. "Doctors and nurses treating patients amid rubble and under trees were able to communicate with each other about patients needing immediate surgery and to coordinate the urgent transport of blood supplies. BlackBerry helps us communicate to get the materials to where they're needed and to find out where things are in the moment of an emergency."
In Haiti, Aguirre used her BlackBerry handset to take photos and send updates to headquarters, as well as post images and information to Facebook and Twitter.
"Being able to upload pictures to social media was really important," she said. "Our social media posts in the early days enabled military personnel to know the needs of various humanitarian groups on the ground and where to direct assets."
Aguirre says, "It's my personal lifeline, not just to be able to protect myself but to know I can get help right away if I need it. I can communicate with my family and let them know I'm alright. I did that after the second earthquake hit Haiti to let them know I was ok."
International Medical Corps has delivered more than $1.1 billion in relief to tens of millions of people in more than 65 countries. They have responded to the world's most devastating man-made and natural disasters, in areas including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Darfur, South Asia, Pakistan, Haiti, Japan, Libya, and East Africa.
"Research In Motion is honored to receive the Global Impact Award from International Medical Corps," said Richard Piasentin, Managing Director at Research In Motion. "We are pleased to see BlackBerry smartphones involved in global relief efforts and to know that they are making a difference to the staff and volunteers of International Medical Corps in their heroic efforts around the world."
For more information about the International Medical Corps, visit www.internationalmedicalcorps.org.