Under the circumstances, EP&R CIO IT support staff provided significant 
service during the Florida hurricanes of 2004.  FEMA IT was tasked to 
establish quickly a 200,000 square foot disaster field office the largest in its 
history within just seven days.  Approximately 2,000 employees staffed this 
disaster field office.  Previously, a field office of just 400 500 employees was 
considered large; accordingly, NEMIS was designed to support a maximum of 
three disaster field offices of 150 employees each.  (See Figure 8).  Significant 
IT resources were required to set up phone and data lines and computer 
stations, and to manage system access rights for system users.  Providing 
system and network support for such a large operation proved challenging.   
For example, during the hurricanes, NEMIS handled more than one million 
requests for disaster assistance in just six weeks.  Due in large part to NEMIS 
automation, individual assistance was generally provided within 7 to 10 days 
as compared to several weeks via the predecessor system.  NEMIS and its 
support staff were stretched to the limit and demonstrated remarkable 
dedication to sustaining operations where systems access and capabilities far 
exceeded systems design.  At one point, NEMIS supported 18 call centers, 
well beyond its design requirement of three call centers and 20,000 calls per 
day.  Overall disaster victim satisfaction with call center service was about 85 
percent, despite this large volume of calls.  
Figure 8:  Disaster Field Office in Orlando, Florida 
The national IT helpdesk also provided effective support for FEMA's disaster 
management operations in Florida.  During FY 2004, largely due to the 
concurrent hurricanes, the helpdesk handled a 50 percent increase in call 
Emergency Preparedness and Response Could Better Integrate Information Technology  
with Incident Response and Recovery 
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