IT system aids better emergency management

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Minister of Civil Defence John Carter today announced that E-Sponder will supply an electronic emergency management information system (EMIS) for use in the National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC) and by civil defence authorities.

The NCMC, below ground under the Beehive, is designed to be a national operations centre. From there the responses of the hundreds of organisations likely to be involved in a large scale emergency can be co-ordinated and a national emergency can be managed.

"This EMIS will help us to better manage emergencies," Mr Carter says. "It will allow us to more quickly and accurately create, and then keep up to date, what is known as a ‘common operating picture'. We use that to ensure that all agencies involved have the same understanding of the situation, who is doing what, where resources are and what decisions are being made.

"That means we will have a faster, better co-ordinated response and, ultimately, a safer, more resilient country."

Mr Carter said that E-Sponder is an off-the-shelf system already used by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in the Australian federal government and by some United States state and county governments to manage information during emergencies.

EMIS is part of a series of upgrades for the NCMC that include expanding alternate communications and installing video conferencing facilities. Cabinet allocated a budget of $2.8 million for all three projects.

Timeline and system attributes

The EMIS contract is being negotiated and will be signed shortly.

EMIS will be rolled out by mid-2010 and will be hosted by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management.

Between January and June staff from the Ministry, Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) groups, territorial authorities and E-Sponder will work together to ensure that the system is appropriately configured for use at local, regional and national levels. They will also develop a testing regime before the system is rolled out.

In March, the Ministry will hold an information conference where the system will be demonstrated to CDEM groups and territorial authorities. System administration and management will also be explained.

System attributes include:

managing all data received through various channels, including voice, fax and e-mail

all users being able to share and integrate data

the ability to add new users and assign them appropriate user rights during an emergency

disseminating information through various channels, including voice, SMS and e-mail

workflow management

creating reports and plans

resource management

integrated mapping

creation of status boards

ease of use.
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