EP&R training is good, funding restrictions limited the number of personnel
who received it, resulting in a lack of awareness of how the systems function
and a low comfort level in using those systems. Additional systems guidance
and training for IT users would provide users with the information they need
to perform their jobs better.
IT Support During the Florida Storms
The concurrent hurricanes which struck Florida and the Gulf Coast in 2004
pushed FEMA's IT capabilities to the limit, demonstrating the agency's
commitment to carrying out its mission regardless of the adversities
encountered and the enormous effort required. Hurricanes Charley, Frances,
Ivan, and Jeanne all category three or stronger storms along with Tropical
Storm Bonnie, hit the region in close proximity and within a few weeks of
Figure 7 illustrates the date and location of these storms, which
collectively created near catastrophic conditions and caused an estimated $42
billion worth of damage. FEMA defines a catastrophe as an incident which
results in extraordinary levels of damage and almost immediately exceeds
state and local resources and significantly interrupts governmental operations
and emergency services.
Figure 7: Four Category 3+ Hurricanes in 2004
The Saffir Simpson Hurricane Scale defines hurricane intensity using a rating scale of 1 5, where 1 is the least intense
and 5 is the most intense. Hurricanes Charley and Frances were category 4 hurricanes, with wind speeds of 131 155
miles per hour. Ivan and Jeanne were category 3 hurricanes at landfall, with wind speeds of 110 130 miles per hour.
Emergency Preparedness and Response Could Better Integrate Information Technology
with Incident Response and Recovery