Citizen calls for aid will help direct relief efforts

Not all critical communication during an emergency is outbound from government.

Homeland Security Department officials want 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 where and when needs arose and what those needs were.

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 less than $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

  • Telecommunications
    Stock photo ID: 658810513 By asharkyu

    GSA extends EIS deadline to 2023

    Agencies are getting up to three more years on existing telecom contracts before having to shift to the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions vehicle.

  • Workforce
    Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen

    OMB looks to retrain feds to fill cyber needs

    The federal government is taking steps to fill high-demand, skills-gap positions in tech by retraining employees already working within agencies without a cyber or IT background.

  • Acquisition
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA to consolidate multiple award schedules

    The General Services Administration plans to consolidate dozens of its buying schedules across product areas including IT and services to reduce duplication.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.