Problem 2 Answer 1

Sahana currently appears to be primarily focused on response and recovery phases of emergency management. As the Sahana Program expands into other phases of emergency management I think a good module to be considered would be a special needs registry. Again there are any software programs that could be purchases from commercial vendors. They are not in the price range of smaller jurisdictions. One of the greatest benefits of a special needs registry is having a database of where your most likely victims will be. These individuals will be the least likely to be able to self evacuate and are more likely to shelter in place. Knowing where their residences are can help with the preparedness and response phases of a disaster. It also assists in making sure that enough shelters with the capabilities to handle those with special needs are available. Some people with special needs have medical issues and equipment that a normal ADA compliant facility may not be able to meet. This would tie into the current camp registry module. So it would be important to know the capabilities of the special needs person. It would also be important to make known that the special needs registry in no way relieves a persons responsibility to take personal responsibility. Any special needs registry should have a legal review before being published. As long as the public and the responders understand the purpose of a special needs registry.

I hope that in the future that the various disaster management systems will become interoperable with one another. If these systems are going to reach their full potential they are going to have to interface with one another. An example of a problem in the area I work is that the state using a software program known as E-Team. The majority of local emergency management agencies use WebEOC. I know of no way to import information from one system to another. As Sahana catches on in the Untied States an agreement needs to be reached so that information entered into one system can be imported to another. This most likely will not occur due to the proprietary nature of the commercial software. Yet it would be a great module for the program.

Problem 2 Answer 2

Purpose of this module To incorporate a one-stop-shop for emergency management partners to access documents, brochures, forms, and guides for disaster declarations and reimbursements. These forms are not only necessary for organizations to complete during a disaster but aid organizations and individuals alike with recovery and mitigation efforts.

Importance to the overall goals of emergency management A major goal of emergency management is the organization and management of resources and responsibilities through all phases of an emergency or disaster. The ability to access necessary forms and documents in the same system that maps, shelters, inventory, situational awareness, response organizations, etc. are organized is a more efficient method that using disparate systems. This would greatly reduce time involved in searching for and providing necessary documentation, could be easily incorporated into training and exercises, and would reduce the risk of duplication of responsibilities and requests for aid, assistance, or reimbursements.

Diagrams or other visuals Below is an example of how this information could be incorporated into the Sahana system. This layout is used by our local agency and is very user friendly. It could simply be a tab that users click on then drill down into for the pertinent information.

FEMA Reimbursement Information *Post Disaster Compliance Procedures *Complete Public Assistance Policy Reference Manual *FEMA 321 - Public Assistance Policy Guide *FEMA 322 - Public Assistance Guide *FEMA 323 - Applicant Handbook *FEMA 325 - Debris Management Guide *FEMA 329 - Debris Management Brochure

I do not have international experience with emergency management but I assume there are other countries, states, and regions in the world where assistance and reimbursements are used. If not, this recommendation would be more of a customization than a general module used by all emergency management organizations.

Integration with other future modules A central location for forms and documents may be a feature or module that could be selected by organizations that utilize the system. In fact, this module could be a repository not only FEMA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) but for the World Health Organization (WHO), international Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and a multitude of other organization from around the world. Each organization could then customize the modules they choose to download based on their unique needs.

Problem 2, Answer 3

Considering my above analysis, a new module should be developed to better meet the needs of non-organizational actors in disasters. As has been demonstrated in recent studies addressing the use of social networking in disasters, individuals in disaster areas voluntarily make use of blogs, websites, and other social networking tools to share information with those whose may be interested. This information is often more trusted by other affected individuals than the information provided by major media sources or out-of-town organizations, and can also serve as an emotional outlet for the sharer of information (thus going some way to address a crucial mental health need). As noted in Part I, individuals who happen to be in an affected disaster area (neighbors and passers-by) perform the majority of disaster response activities; a Sahana module could be developed to assist these individuals and help coordinate their activities and identified needs with organizational actors.

My proposal for a new Sahana module is a blogging-type application with both an unstructured free-flow component as well as a set of predetermined questions to guide the user if necessary. If utilization of this module becomes widespread, this will have the benefit of bringing this information into one place (when it is usually spread among many different websites, blogs, etc.). The front end must be very easy-to-use and as simple as possible; the module should also have a back end component that is accessible by organizational actors. The back end component of the module can be more complex, and will allow users to create reports based on answers to the front end predetermined questions, as well as keyword search options for the unstructured blogging feature. In this way, organizational actors would be able to search for, for instance, keywords like “disease” or “fever” in order to collect all blog references that might have references to these words; they could then use whatever information they find to determine levels of need and begin to develop assistance strategies.

Beyond the immediate benefits, such a module would have advantages to emergency management in disasters in a broader sense. By including a module that is much more directly focused on individual actors rather than organizations, this will encourage more disaster-affected individuals to use the Sahana system. When combined with more user-friendly aspects of existing modules (such as the missing persons registry), this highly level of utilization in general may encourage more individuals to search and post information to these other modules. Since these untrained first responders will often have some of the best available information about the whereabouts of “missing persons”, encouraging more participation of these individuals in the system can only provide benefits to the system as a whole. For instance, after becoming familiar with Sahana through their blogging experiences, they may discover the missing persons registry and recall that one of their neighbors informed them that they would be fleeing the area to stay with friends in another region of the country. They may then enter this information into the system, which could help others find these missing persons.

Problem 2, Answer 4

Sahana Management System may be a useful tool for managing a pandemic flu outbreak. Past deployment of the system involved natural disasters such as; tsunami’s, earthquakes, and mudslides. Creating a new module for managing a pandemic outbreak would create new challenges for the Sahana system. However, the application is generalized enough to address the needs of a pandemic flu outbreak and global in scope to track the progression of the disease.

Historically, pandemic flu outbreaks have caused millions of deaths worldwide. According to the web site the characteristics of an outbreak and challenges to emergency management during a pandemic episode include a rapid world wide spread, an overload to the health care system, and inadequate medical supply, and economic and social disruption. The goals of emergency management comprise of preparedness, committing appropriate resources, and training personnel to assist victims.

Being prepared for a flu outbreak, with the potential for widespread illness and fatalities, requires rapid development of vaccinations and mass immunizations to curb the spread of the disease. A new module of Sahana could help in the management of all aspects of the pandemic but especially in mass immunizations.

On a larger scale there are issues surrounding development and commercial production of a vaccine. Global standards have to be established that address quality and efficiency of the vaccine. There are regulatory and licensing issues to ensure that the vaccine that is produced is safe and effective. Unlike other vaccines, the short development time and the rush to get the vaccine to market requires extra monitoring for safety. Unfortunately, global travel allows viruses to progress with relative ease to other countries and nations. Researchers have a daunting task of developing the right medication for the particular strain of virus. This requires coordination and cooperation between governments and a system to manage information.

On a more local level Sahana could assist with mass immunization clinics. Many factors effect getting medication to those who need it. First is patient education. Vaccines may be appropriate for some people and not for others. At risk populations need to be identified and those people who are identified as being at the greatest risk should be vaccinated first. Dispensing and administering medication requires that certain medical protocols be followed. Medication storage, dosage, time given are all elements of the medical protocols. In addition, there are certain regulations that dictate who is authorized to administer medication according to their licensing and training. Documentation and records procedures must be keep on patients to track the spread of the disease and treatment success.

Setting up a mass immunization clinic requires planning. Beyond dispensing and administering medication there are other considerations. Adequate site facilities have to be identified with traffic flow patterns and parking for patients and staff. Site security is maintained to ensure that medications are secured and dispensed in an orderly manner. Staff is properly identified. Patients are triaged appropriately; where healthy patients are not exposed to infectious ones. Mapping can be utilized to show the number of vaccines necessary for residents of the area, availability of the vaccine, and distribution. They can also detail needs by area, for cities, counties, states, and other countries. In addition, layers can show at risk populations, hospitals, clinic sites, traffic flow patterns, parking, and such.

Problem 2, Answer 5

There is one addition to the program that I would consider especially useful. Relaying information to the media is critical during times of disaster and it is difficult to relay the proper information in a timely manner. If the program had a way of doing so, while not revealing all information as that would be a mistake, it could reduce a step for emergency managers.

While the media is not to have knowledge of all the information known by emergency managers, it would be helpful if they had some of the information on the program. If media outlets were allowed to request access to the program, but the program was modified to the point that managers and other officials could decide what information was to be distributed, it could be very helpful in that way. Perhaps their version would look slightly different so that they were not aware that they were not being allowed access to the program and information in its entirety.

It would be extremely useful for the media to know the locations of shelters. They could broadcast this information and allow those who need shelter to find it easily. The knowledge of supplies could also be useful and it would aid shelters by requiring them to put forth time to procure or request supplies rather than spending time in the distribution of those supplies and service to those in need. It could list areas where supplies could be donated and what is needed. However, it would probably not be wise for the media to have access to just how many supplies they have. It could discourage giving and/or make the public wonder about the effectiveness of distribution. This would undermine the organizations and cause unwanted problems, which would not be helpful to the effort.

The missing persons function would also be useful for the media to have access to. It could aid in broadcasting this information to a wide area, which could help in the recovery of those missing persons. Granted that no personal information other than appearance and name should be given to them for safety reasons, I feel that the use of such a tool would spread the word about those who are missing much faster than word of mouth could hope. Media from outer areas and not just those inside the disaster area should be reached out to, as people may have evacuated to these outer-lying areas and would not see this information otherwise. Of course, the capability of using the found persons function would also be needed.

While this module would need a great amount of restriction and planning, it would be incredibly useful to emergency managers if for no other reason than saving a step for them. Information about shelters, supplies, and missing persons could be relayed to them easily rather than using telephone calls, emails, or fax. It would be mostly on their part to log on and find the information, while it would be the responsibility of others to input the information for everyone, not just the media, to see.

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