This dissertation examined one city's implementation of an intranet virtual web portal for improved emergency management. Municipal Emergency Operation Center (EOC) managers face many security issues in response to potential natural or terrorist threats since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The purpose was to understand how technology had created new learning and response methods for EOC managers. The methodology used was a qualitative case study consisting of interviews with 8 EOC managers who had 2 years of involvement in the portal's design or implementation; observations in their actual EOC; and use of the virtual software and collection of artifacts such as photographs, training manuals, and meeting notes.
Interviews consisted of 60 questions grouped into 4 sections that explored: (a) manager's background in emergency management and participation in the system design and implementation; (b) experiences using communications and portal information for emergency planning, preparedness, training, deployment, and critical decision making; (c) mitigation; and (d) system evaluation to create a model for other cities considering a similar emergency management system.
The findings highlighted commonalities learned. Continuous access to incident data on the web's geographic maps opened up new connectivity between responding functions. Communication alerts sent to EOC managers reinforced the city's preparedness levels and enabled proactive decision making. Situational training and monthly EOC meetings contributed to familiarity with software enhancements and prepared the managers for faster response to actual incidents. The portal was a repository of present and past data for analysis and an enterprise document library. Managers had access to procedures, forms, and links to vital real time weather and web site news needed for logistical deployment.
This pioneering organization's utilization of technology was a leadership effort on the part of many levels. The city's managers set the service vision and continued their commitment to the project. Laptops were recently deployed to field responders for situation communications with the EOC. Managers made suggestions for continuous improvements and the software vendor was responsive in translating their emergency data needs into a single visual interface. The managers learned to form a virtual team across departments for emergency, crisis, and disaster response.
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 68/12, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational software, Information systems|
|Keywords:||Disaster training and response, Emergency Operations Center, Emergency management, Emerging technologies, Information systems, Intranet portal, Municipal EOC, Portal, Virtual EOC|
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