Emergency Management (EM)

Find State Emergency Management Agency Web Sites

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Accessible listing of all states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency, courtesy of FEMA.

For 2008, DeLorme wins hands-down! There just is not another suite of mapping/gps products out there that are so well suited for disaster operations. Never mind they are the most affordable of geospatial/mapping solutions as well, with full function/capability! This is not a paid endorsement, not coordinated with the vendor (DeLorme) in any way, and while there are other excellent companies/products out there, some of whom have never been evaluated by EM, another referenced on this particular web page for three years now (ArcNews), DeLorme has managed to produce the most user friendly products out there for the basics...and beyond, at a price that by comparison can't be ignored.

Here comes the 2008 Hurricane Season! We need to be better prepared for all-hazards at all times. Maps are important tools (PS> the Washington DC government produced paper street map of the city...INCLUDES a full fine-line USNG overlay).

An excellent PowerPoint presentation (4.5megs)....

Be sure to click on the image to download the Georeferencing Matrix and read all footnotes!

Just who is the NSARC?

A common operating grid (USNG), implemented well in advance.
Maps that easily work with GPS. GPS working with the maps. Everyone on the same sheet of music. A universal language of location when responding to anywhere...from anywhere! USNG
Delta State University - USNG grid datasets and much more!

District of Columbia Prototype USNG Street Atlas (3.7megs)

Zoom in, includes structure footprints!

Katrina lessons learned and Leadership coming from Ohio and Mississippi (USGS and others)!
Map book examples, a model for first responder map books Nationwide (Worldwide w/MGRS-WGS84)!!

This is Cool!! (July 2007)

The Board of Directors of the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) Recommends Widespread Awareness, Training and Education on the Use of the USNG Standard for First Responders Nation-Wide

Update: 08/18/2007 (1200Z) - It's hurricane season again and Hurricane Dean, the first Atlantic Ocean hurricane of 2007 with 150mph winds, gusting to 185mph @ Grid: 19PFT1703 (Lat, Lon, D.dd: 15.4012, -67.9097 or DM.m: N15º 24.074' W67º 54.582' or DMS: N15º 24' 4.44" , W67º 54' 34.92"), is heading for an already wet Texas and Mexico border area (four/five days out) with forecast landfall winds of 135mph. (Update 08/19/2007, 1200Z, Grid: 18Q WD 74 57: Current forecast has Jamaica then the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico getting smacked hard with 150mph+ winds, Dean crossing over into the Gulf of Mexico and back into Mexico again with winds at 100mph.)

In the RSA (Rabble States of America), all of the excellent Urban Search and Rescue Teams (US&R) have adopted USNG-NAD83 standard as the common operating grid for disaster operations anywhere in the USA.

In June 2007, DHS-LLIS reported out that FEMA Region VI (AR, LA, NM, OK, TX) discovered during a Tabletop Exercise in May of 2006 (a year after Katrina but then not shared with the Nation's first response/emergency management community for another year after that??) that "Federal, state, and local emergency managers should consider establishing a common grid or map system for identifying locations following a disaster," but do not evidently realize that there is a standard for same, nor that well before a disaster is time for such measures, ie. "Preparedness."

FEMA is, from a professional perspective, very difficult to comprehend!! Take a quick look at the massive heads-up with only "Three Important Lessons Learned" from "GIS and GPS Emergency Response Lessons Learned from the Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster (University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio, Texas)!" (Basically, One, teach folks how to set their GPS to the same thing; Two, have a standard for them to be set (the standard is USNG); Three, be able to print out many thousands of maps fast, ie. same basic lessons from Hurricane Andrew (1992), and all 2.5 years before Katrina in the same frelling FEMA Region as NOLA!!)

When LLIS let it slip that FEMA RVI a year before (May 2006) had discovered that a common map grid is a good idea, turns out May 2006 was same month in testimony for his Confirmation Hearing to the US Senate, FEMA Director Paulison wrote: "The NIMS Integration Center is considering the adoption of the 'National Grid' unified mapping system as a potential NIMS implementation standard. The mapping system would help saves lives, reduce the costs of the disaster, and enhance all disaster related actions."

Mr. Paulison seems to have failed, however, to put even his own agency (FEMA) on the same map page. The revised NRP and NIMS have yet to be released, and no mention of USNG can be found on his FEMA website (except in Spanish, one page regarding US&R). There is no evidence Paulison has ever made utterance of "USNG" outside of the Senate's hearing room.

Florida on the other hand, has the Nation's leading emergency management agency and is the best prepared state for all-hazards, in part, because they are quickly implementing USNG.

US National Grid was the common operating grid used for the 02/2007 Super Bowl in Miami-Dade!!

Florida's Emergency Management and the State Law Enforcement community, Fire Marshal and Fire Chiefs are true National Leaders.

Very interesting to note as well, two very good presentations for a "Navigating the Disaster" session at the FEMA Emergency Management Institutes's Higher Education Conference (June 2007) are now online. Here are links to both, first from Headquarters United States Marine Corps (USMC), the second from Delta State University, MS. The following was the session description in the Conference schedule:

(4) Navigating the Disaster

Description: The geography of landscape wrought asunder by disaster or terrorist attack is not unlike that of the surface of the moon. The topography by which one traditionally communicates, coordinates, and navigates is often unrecognizable: no street signs, no house numbers, and few visual landmarks. The U.S. National Grid (USNG) spatial reference system is of the utmost importance for successful and safe execution of the emergency management mission, all-hazards, especially in a multi-jurisdiction setting with or without street signs. A common operating grid (USNG) and use of geo-addressing for all phases of the emergency management lifecycle is a precursor for unified and interoperable command and coordination, plans, communications, and other preparation for resource management and public information. This session will review the USA’s established doctrine for a common operating grid (USNG) and then teach participants the importance of, and how to use, integrated mapping technologies, quality maps, and land navigation techniques to create a unified, spatially-referenced operational framework.

(Note: This session's two distinguished presenters several weeks earlier, provided similar presentations to the National Academy of Sciences (the Academy wrote the report: Successful Response Starts with a Map - 12/2006))

Good luck to all in the RSA, and remember, some catastrophic disasters come with little or no warning and have much more severe consequences than even Katrina, and they need to be managed much more effectively if the victims are to survive.

Update: It's hurricane season again, Alberto, first named storm of 2006. Several state emergency management agencies have now "adopted" USNG. Implementation plans to follow. US&R, NIMS..., also making good progress. A new FEMA Director with solid experience seems to be making a difference! Best of luck to Director Paulison and the employees of his agency.
Here we go again... the 2005 hurricane season's first category 4 hurricane (Dennis) has just passed over Cuba. Another hurricane season without a common map grid, one that agrees with what the National Guard and other military professionals are trained to use.
Integration?? Interoperability?
Requirement: A Universal Map Reference System - US National Grid
Make this the last such hurricane season. Take action, local, state, federal, and as private citizens in what you ask for at the store when you buy maps. "Does it have the National Grid?"

ArcUser Online: Introducing the United States National Grid

By Mike Price, Entrada/San Juan, Inc.

"In 2005, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommended that any DHS grant submission reference the use of a nationally defined coordinate system for all spatial referencing, mapping, and reporting...."

ArcUser: Rescue Behind the Rocks

By Mike Price, Entrada/San Juan, Inc.

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