Photo: Fire department response via Shutterstock

Responding to an emergency is a challenge without the added hurdle of doing it without mobile technology, but that is often the reality for response teams in emergency situations. Thanks to a recent study released in Germany, scientists found that home wireless routers could be used to link up emergency responders in the event of catastrophe or other urgent situation.

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Wireless wifi Router via Shutterstock

The scientists, based at the Technical University in Darmstadt, Germany say that home routers are so common in many places that they could easily be stitched together to create a temporary communications system. In the event of an emergency, cell phone towers and networks can become overwhelmed by people attempting to contact each other, making it difficult for emergency responde teams to keep in touch with each other and with headquarters. Using home wifi routers could eliminate the problem.

Home wifi routers could be piggybacked without invading user privacy, according to the scientists, who walked around their city to identify the location of private routers in the city center. In just under 1/5th of a square mile, they located 1,971 routers, 200 of which were public routers with no security blocks. The study suggests that home routers could be manufactured with an emergency switch, which would turn on a guest mode, allowing emergency teams the use of their router without impeding personal use.