DHS seeks template for responding to emergency calls

Homeland Security Department officials hope to develop a systematic approach for state call centers to use when responding to calls for assistance during hurricanes and other emergencies.

DHS has awarded a contract to the Texas A&M Research Foundation to study all of the calls for assistance that were made in Texas after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and then develop a template for responding to such calls during future emergencies.

To begin what DHS officials are calling the Public Needs Project, the foundation will review all the calls made to the 26 Texas 2-1-1 call centers in the four-month period before, during and after the hurricanes, and then correlate the calls by time and place to see what needs arose where and when.

Foundation researchers will combine that data with demographic information to see whether demands for assistance were greater for certain members of the population.

The Texas system’s performance is regarded as one of the major successes of the hurricane emergencies. After Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, more than 200,000 people traveled to Texas from the affected states, and the number of daily 2-1-1 calls quadrupled.

The information the foundation gleans will provide state agencies around the country with better ways to determine what data must be collected from callers during emergencies and which centers are best equipped to handle certain calls, DHS officials said.

The contract, worth just under $250,000, is for a base period of one year with two option years.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

Featured

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

  • Comment
    Pilot Class. The author and Barbie Flowers are first row third and second from right, respectively.

    How VA is disrupting tech delivery

    A former Digital Service specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs explains efforts to transition government from a legacy "project" approach to a more user-centered "product" method.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.