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 
each other.
14
  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 
                                                 
14
 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 
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