By lt;i Editors, Committee on Using Information Technology to Enhance Disaster Management Ted Schmitt, National Research Council

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Extra resources for Improving Disaster Management: The Role of IT in Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery

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4 Briefings to the committee suggested that progress continues to be made toward ever more effective use of information technology to enhance disaster management. 5 Furthermore, the public has high expectations that technology that it sees deployed ever deeper into other societal systems will be applied to improve the handling of disasters. This chapter discusses six key IT-based capabilities that were selected by the committee because they (1) have the potential to address major problem areas in current disaster management practice and (2) represent areas where there appears to be significant potential for further advancement of the current state of the art.

2. Human behavioral context includes the many variables of individual human performance, including skill sets, training, experience, health, personal stress, and other personal factors. Despite efforts at standardization, human beings inevitably bring a degree of variability into the execution of procedure and the pursuit of organizational goals and values. This is not necessarily a bad thing; indeed human originality and adaptability are often critical to meeting unforeseen challenges. But they can insert an only partly controlled variable into the performance of carefully planned processes and can give rise to problems that are sometimes mischaracterized as technology-related communications problems, especially under conditions of high stress or uncertainty typical in disasters.

As the title implies, this article focuses on natural disasters. , 1999. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. 3 Major Milestones in the Evolution of the Functions and Profession of Federal-Level Disaster Management in the United States • Development of the comprehensive emergency management taxonomy based on an all-hazards approach and the four phases of mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery by the National Governors’ Association in the 1970s. • Establishment of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1979, which consolidated federal mitigation, preparedness, and response activities into one agency, reporting directly to the President.

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