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close this bookEmergency Information Management and Telecommunications - 1st Edition (Department of Humanitarian Affairs/United Nations Disaster Relief Office - Disaster Management Training Programme - United Nations Development Programme , 1997, 62 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentIntroduction
close this folderPart 1: Information management systems
View the document(introduction...)
close this folderIdentification of information needs
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View the documentInformation needs: “pre-crisis”
View the documentInformation needs: “with onset of crisis”
View the documentInformation needs: “post-crisis”
close this folderData gathering and emergency management
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View the documentEstablishing the baseline
View the documentQuantitative vs. qualitative methods of data gathering
View the documentThe need for an “inter-agency” approach
View the documentHardware and software tools for data-gathering
close this folderData analysis and information production
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View the documentCross-checking and verification
View the documentFiltering and prioritization
View the documentInformation presentation
View the documentSoftware tools for data analysis and information production
close this folderInformation dissemination
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View the documentOrganizational protocols
View the documentUse of coordination structures for information dissemination
View the documentUse of the media in information dissemination
View the documentThe Internet and the World Wide Web
View the documentBuilding institutional memory
close this folderPart 2: Emergency telecommunications13
View the document(introduction...)
close this folderFundamental emergency telecommunications concerns
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View the documentPolitical/organizational concerns
View the documentEquipment/infrastructure concerns
View the documentTypology of telecommunications technologies
View the documentStrategic (worldwide or global) telecommunications systems
View the documentTactical (short-range or local) telecommunications systems
close this folderPart 3: Setting up the systems
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View the documentEmergency information management tasks and issues
View the documentEmergency telecommunications tasks and issues
View the documentANNEX A. Disaster and Emergency Information Management Sites on the World Wide Web
View the documentEvaluation


Purpose and scope

This training module, Emergency Information Management and Telecommunications is designed to introduce two essential aspects of disaster management to an audience of UN organization professionals who form disaster management teams, as well as to government counterpart agencies, NGOs, and donors. This training is designed to increase the audience’s awareness of the nature and management of disasters - and particularly the emergency phase - leading to a better performance in disaster preparedness and response.

By highlighting fundamental aspects of information management and telecommunications with regard to emergency management, we hope to provide an orientation and starting point for the review and enhancement of your own agency’s existing systems. Our intent is to suggest feasible measures that can improve emergency preparedness. Such measures do not inexorably require the acquisition of more expensive, more sophisticated technology, although, to be sure, such enhancements can be of much benefit to readiness given proper conditions of use, personnel, and training. While some of these technologies are, in fact, covered in this module, our primary focus is on basic policies and procedures of good emergency information management and telecommunications which can raise the level of emergency preparedness - without the tremendous costs necessarily required by acquisition of state of the art technology.


The primary objective of an emergency information system is to improve the capacity of decision-makers to take needed action. Effective information management and telecommunications systems are key. It should be noted from the outset, however, that these are two very different aspects of the emergency management:




Emergency information management - defined as the collection, consolidation, analysis and dissemination of the information - requires that the emergency manager be fully cognizant of the needs of the eventual users of the information. Effective emergency information management requires concerted planning, organizing, controlling, and influencing of human, material, and information resources to ensure that information is disseminated to the right decision-makers at the right time to satisfy those needs.


Telecommunications, on the other hand, is defined as the equipment and networks used to transport information from point to point. These include terrestrial and satellite-based systems, public and private networks, as well as the policies and procedures developed to run those various systems and networks. Emergency managers must be sufficiently knowledgeable of the various telecommunications system options to know when it is time to consult a telecommunications expert.

This module, then, is intended to highlight the key knowledge, responsibilities, and tasks which can enable emergency managers to make informed decisions about the information system they manage, and the type of telecommunications system which is most appropriate to their particular needs.

In Part 1 of this module, we present the essential concepts of an information management system designed to serve the needs of emergency managers.

In Part 2, we present the essential concepts of emergency telecommunications to provide managers with a basic understanding of the various system options open to them, and to ensure they are able to define and describe their own particular telecommunications needs.

In Part 3, we provide emergency managers with checklists in matrix format as a starting point for the review and analysis of their own information management and telecommunications systems.

Training methods

This module is intended for two audiences, the self-study learner and the participant in a training workshop. The following training methods are planned for use in workshops and are simulated in the accompanying “training guide”. For the self-study learner the text is as close to a tutor as can be managed in print.

Workshop training methods include:

· group discussions
· simulations/role plays
· supplementary handouts
· videos
· review sessions
· self-assessment exercises

The self study learner is invited to use this text as a workbook. In addition to note taking in the margins, you will be given the opportunity to stop and examine your learning along the way through questions included in the text. Write down your answers to these questions before proceeding to ensure that you have captured key points of the text.