Data is a critical component for solving emergency management challenges. Today, with multiple disasters happening all at once, putting data to work is helping all levels of government allocate the right resources. How to use data during emergency situations— like hurricane season — was the main topic of discussion during the Leveraging Analytics to Solve Emergency Management Challenges webinar.
According to the Washington Post, this is a record-breaking hurricane season with 23 named storms so far. This active hurricane season has also helped coin a new meteorology term, “zombie storm.” This is where storms regain strength and resurface, like Hurricane Paulette.
In addition to hurricane season, the public health crisis is still far from over. And the interaction between the COVID-19 pandemic and hurricane season brings forth myriad challenges, especially for emergency managers and public sector response teams.
“How do we respond to two major disasters at the same time?” asked John Lorimer, vice president of Analytics, iParametrics, during the webinar. “What happens if first responders aren’t available because they’re ill? What happens if hospitals can’t accommodate new patients because they’re already full and [what does it mean] when hospitals themselves are damaged by hurricanes? [The problem also arises regarding] where people should go for shelter while maintaining social distancing. This is truly uncharted territory.”
iParametrics identified that the frequency of today’s disasters was disproportionate to the emergency management resources available. With the insight gained from working with several federal agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Defense (DoD), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), they recognized that resource management was an immediate need during this, particularly challenging season. Now, in partnership with Qlik, they’re able to put data to work to expedite emergency response processes for the agencies they serve.
Using data visualizations emergency teams can see what infrastructure is affected, paired with projected damage costs. At the same time, the application shows the impact of COVID-19, including cases in the states and counties where hurricanes are hitting. Using this information allows emergency managers and federal response teams to make better, more accurate, and faster decisions.
“Data doesn’t just make the difference in terms of knowing where and how resources can be allocated,” explained Heather Gittings, senior director, Global Industry Solutions, Public Sector and Healthcare at Qlik. “The right visualizations help to save lives, the ultimate goal of emergency management.”
This year, wildfires, hurricanes, and the pandemic have made emergency management even more complex. To better understand the impact of these disasters as well as the resources they need to provide relief, organizations like iParametrics have put data to work. With data-driven insight, state, local, and federal emergency management teams can proactively manage resources and be prepared to save lives the moment a crisis is identified.
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