Information Science and Technology in Crisis Response and Management

Information Science and Technology in Crisis Response and Management

Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch121
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Emergent technological innovations in robotics and miniaturization of robotics, drone technologies, acoustical sensors, and others are revolutionizing the effectiveness of crisis response and management efforts, on smaller local events, and in combination, may be applied to larger disaster events such as major community or regional crises. This article will define and identify the essential component parts of effective information driven and technological based crises response and management, as well as larger systems to address disasters as crises events.
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Early efforts to link crisis management and information technology were concerned with the protection and maintenance of data within private business organizations. Businesses’ have become dependent on technology to perform work, distribute products and improve productivity and efficiency. Loss of technology functions and critical information could cause irrevocable damage to a business. Therefore crisis management in the business sense has meant anticipatory planning for disruptions and protecting data and process critical for business success. The use of experts within a domain of business services coupled with domain decision makers and gathered into crises management teams; has been highly useful in considering critical scenarios of information or other critical processes disruption or loss. Constructing anticipatory action plans has proven to be a key part of adequate preparation for response, though these must be updated as situational contexts and key personnel change (Esbensen & Krisciunas, 2008).

Approximately a decade ago, in North America the major disasters of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (Hurricanes: Science and Society, 2015) and there combined effects on a region of the south central United States were heavily televised, in part because of the urban location of the disaster in a modern and well known city. Major humanitarian service providers such as FEMA and the American Red Cross began to grapple with the scale of information needed and service provision possible for such large scale disasters and began seeking community and academic partnerships with corporate information technology providers, the defense industry, uniformed military service providers (especially those engaged in search and rescue efforts) and governmental agencies to improve crises response and management, for disasters of scale (Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief, 2015).

Since this time several additional cataclysms have increased awareness for the need to look at international and global response systems involving information technology, relative to preparedness, systemization, planning, pre-positioning of resources and equipment, logistics and distribution capacity in the management of crisis and disaster management. Public attention has been galvanized by devastating natural disasters such as; earthquakes in Pakistan in 2005 and in Sichuan China in 2008 and again in Haiti in 2010, the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami striking Japan in 2011, Cyclone Nargis that struck Myanmar in 2008 and by recent recollections of earlier but recent large scale disasters prior to the North American hurricanes of 2005 such as; the Sumatra tsunami of 2004, and the Iran earthquake of 2003, and several earlier to these and many others since (Lists of Disasters, 2015).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Information Technology- Crisis/Disaster Response: The study or use of systems (especially computers and telecommunications) for storing, retrieving, and sending information; routinely or in special event circumstances, or condition. AU21: Reference appears to be out of alphabetical order. Please check

Manmade Disaster: Anthropogenic hazards or human-made hazards can result in the form of a human-made disaster. In this case, anthropogenic means threats having an element of human intent, negligence, or error; or involving a failure of a human-made system. This is as opposed to natural hazards that cause natural disasters.

Crisis Management: The application of strategies designed to help an organization, or community, deal with a sudden and significant negative event.

Natural Disaster: A natural event such as a flood, earthquake, or hurricane that causes great damage or loss of life.

Fragility – Fragile, At Risk, Environments: Easily broken, shattered, or damaged; delicate; brittle; frail: a fragile ceramic container; a very fragile alliance, also applies to communities, regions or nations with limited capacity or infrastructure to recover from calamity.

Crisis Response: The methods used to offer short term immediate help to individuals who have experienced a crisis, disaster or catastrophic event.

Device Technology- Crisis/Disaster Response: Mobile devices and technology enhanced mechanical devices with computing and problem solving capabilities, networked communication capacity, remote sensing and transport abilities to provide, alerts, response assistance and rescue assistance.

Information Science: The study of processes for storing, organizing, retrieving or recovering information, especially scientific or technical information.

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