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Jen Q. Public: Applying a smarter approach to emergency management

Digital Marketing Lead, Public Services Sector, IBM Analytics

July 9, 10:30 p.m.

Dear diary,

I just saw the latest movie in the Jurassic Park series—and I can’t help but think that summer blockbusters are becoming a tad predictable. Interestingly though, whether it's experimental hybrid dinosaurs, killer cyborgs or the "big one" earthquake, poor emergency planning and management trigger excessive damage, chaos and loss of life. It would seem like they need to look at data better and do more analysis to come up with the best possible emergency preparedness plan because what they are doing now isn't working.

Just last week on the drive in to work, I listened to the latest IBM Public Sector Talks podcast with Adam Crowe, the Director of Emergency Preparedness at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he shared the challenges facing emergency managers today and the need for better preparedness. We can look at the Philippine Department of Science and Technology too, which in the wake of the devastating 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, helped their government respond to immediate needs but also prepare for the next big typhoon with the help of the donation of an IBM Impact Grant of technology and services. The integrated solution is in regular use, pulling data from disparate sources into a common view and providing critical information such as advance warning of extreme weather events; conditions of buildings, roads and infrastructure; and enabling scenario planning to streamline and integrate the government’s response to crises.

Perhaps Hollywood producers need to consult with the Japanese government who are applying a smarter approach to emergency management and have adopted a two-faceted strategy of sharing critical information among government officials in emergencies and constant monitoring of vast stores of sensor, smartphone and camera data, allowing them to stay one step ahead of disaster.

I guess if proper emergency management techniques were used, then we wouldn't have the sequel and my summer movie night would be a little less action-packed. I don't mind less action in real life, though!

Until next time,

Jen Q. Public

P.S. I am staying a step ahead of disaster (and away from experimental hybrid dinosaurs) with a smarter approach to emergency management.