Information Technology and Emergency Management

Information Technology and Emergency Management

Christopher G. Reddick (University of Texas at San Antonio, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-834-5.ch005
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Abstract

Section 214 of the E-Government Act of 2002 called on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in consultation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ensure that IT is studied to enhance crisis preparedness and response as a consequence of natural and manmade disasters (Rao, Eisenberg, and Schmitt, 2007). This important e-government legislation demonstrates the vital role of IT in emergency management. E-emergency management is especially critical to understand given the important role that the different levels of government play in disasters. This chapter will show that there is a need to be comprehensive in IT and emergency management. For effective emergency planning there is a need to use IT to leverage planning efforts. Federalism mat-ters when doing emergency lanning and should be taken into account in these efforts. Citizens play a critical role in emergency management. Information that is timely, and of high quality, is essential for emergency management. The digital divide matters in planning for emergency management and there is an importance of public libraries in the event of a disaster to serve those populations impacted from the disaster. This chapter first examines the four functions of emergency management to determine how these functions relate to IT. Emergency planning and its application to IT adoption is discussed in this chapter. The intergovernmental aspects of emergency management are discussed to set the context of the environment that emergency responders work under. The role that citizens play in emergency management is discussed to determine the important influence they have over the process. The chapter also examines the impact of management information systems on emergency management. This chapter examines the important organizational, societal, and technology issues of IT and emergency management. There are results from a survey of state government directors of emergency management to determine what impact that IT has had on their departments. Finally, a conclusion summarizes the important findings of this study.

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