There is increasing awareness that the US is inadequately prepared
to cope with the spate of modern natural and technological crises. A critical
facet of strengthening emergency management (EM) capability is the development
of advanced information systems for collecting, storing, processing, retrieving,
and sharing essential data and ''value-added'' information that emergency managers
can use. This also creates problems, but the potentials must be examined. Congress
is showing greater interest, studying various issues, but EM decision makers
also need to understand the benefits and limitations of using information technology.
However, the human factor remains paramount. There are already numerous examples
of information technology in use in EM, and perceptive action by responsible
decision makers in using such key resources and approaches can make it possible
for the US to survive threatening emergency situations and flourish.
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