FEMA debuts DisasterHelp.gov


The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Nov. 25 launched a pilot version of DisasterHelp.gov, a one-stop portal for emergency preparedness and response information.

The disaster management effort is one of 24 cross-agency e-government initiatives highlighted by the Bush administration. FEMA is in charge of the project but is working with 26 partners.

The portal will support more than 4 million members of the first responder community -- firefighters, police officers and emergency medical technicians -- pulling together several systems, simplifying services and eliminating duplication in the process.

"The feedback first responders will provide through this pilot launch will be invaluable as this innovative project moves forward," FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh said in a news release.

An initial release of DisasterHelp.gov had been slated for Aug. 31, and a statement of objectives — calling for $50 million to $100 million in services that include developing the architecture and design concept — was expected to follow, Ronald Miller, FEMA's former chief information officer, said in June before getting detailed to help the Office of Homeland Security.

The agency now plans to announce further developments in the spring of 2003.


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