The cycle of disparity: A gap analysis of emergency management and information technology
Keywords:emergency management, information technology, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats analysis, gap analysis, needs assessment
Emergency management (EM) requires an appropriate understanding of its situational context in real time. This involves constant communication between emergency operations and administration, so that informed, coordinated decisions can be made in a constantly changing environment using the most critical and updated information. Challenges in EM include adapting to rapidly changing technologies, adoption, and communication. The goal of this needs assessment is to examine how the effective collection and communication of information has been affected by the technology developed to support it, to identify critical disconnects between emergency management professionals and information technology and telecommunications (ITT) professionals, and to identify opportunities for improved application and user interface development. The methods for this qualitative analysis enumerate and categorize some of the communication challenges faced by the EM community as identified by interviews conducted with subject matter experts using the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats technique. This study finds that the absence of ITT professionals with experience in emergency response and, conversely, the absence of EM professionals working in EM application development create a “cycle of disparity,” where the key findings of this study both arise from one central input and feed into to each of the other key findings in a continuous cycle, reinforcing what threats and weaknesses already exist.
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