Keywords: electronic emergency management, virtual emergency operations centre, internet
E-emergency management in the USA: a preliminary survey of the operational state of the art
In a world of e-commerce and a growing range of governmental services offered on the internet, what is the state of electronic emergency management in the USA? Interest in the use of computers to perform emergency management functions at the state and local level emerged in the 1980s. Today, survey data indicates widespread use of the internet for communications, a moderate level of data automaton support for emergency operations centres, and the use of the internet by all state and some local agencies to communicate with the public. E-emergency management is being deployed component by component, with components being chosen to meet a variety of operational needs - how to communicate, how to disseminate public information, and how to manage information and resources. Increasingly, the term "virtual emergency operations centre" is used to describe everything from an emergency operations centre with computers, through facilities that offer public information to internet users, to truly virtual facilities that apply incident command system management principles to supply electronic services. However, the evolution of e-emergency management as a method of performing work extends beyond the emergency operations centre to include professional interchange, electronic exercises, and the development of new concerns in emergency information management.