Using GIS in Emergency Scenarios

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​In October, the Village of Lincolnshire staff held a table-top
discussion on its emergency management plan. To test how well everyone
knew local procedures as well as to evaluate the effectiveness of the
existing plan, selected supervisors were given a practice scenario and
had to explain how they would respond. GIS was enlisted to assist with
this by creating a map showing the extent of the damage from a
hypothetical tornado strike. On the day of the drill, the supervisors
received a copy of the map and discussed the challenges that this
situation would present to the various responding departments. 

GIS
was also asked to briefly present on how this technology could be used
to support response and recovery operations for the Village. As a member
of the GIS Consortium, Lincolnshire has access to a 24-hour hotline
number to request GIS support on an emergency basis. When an after-hours
issue arises, a GIS specialist can be paged to come on site and help
with information collecting, tracking, and sharing. Having a central
source of information will allow the various departments to communicate
more effectively in the hours and days after the disaster; maps can be
quickly generated and distributed to share findings from different
sources as they come in. Additionally, as internet access becomes
available, GIS can be used to provide information to the public about
the recovery efforts, the location of resources such as food, water, and
shelter, and other critical spatial information that would help those
affected by the emergency.