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Seeking disaster relief? Who you gonna call?

If you’ve had to seek assistance from the federal government after a disaster, you’re probably familiar with DisasterAssistance.gov.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Web site provides information on how you might be able to get help from the government before, during and after a disaster.

What you might not know is that the portal connects you with 17 other agencies that provide assistance, Ira Grossman, chief enterprise architecture for FEMA told a gathering of government and industry executives at the Government Technology Research Alliance Meeting held from June 6 to 8 in Bedford Springs, PA.

Enterprise architecture and the National Information Exchange Model are the underlying technology concepts that foster information sharing on the site, he noted.

Grossman pointed to recent success stories associated with the web site such as the rapid development of a second page for people who have been affected by the Gulf Oil Spill to file claims with British Petroleum. BP operated the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20th.

Another success story came from conference attendee, Bob Daniels, chief technology officer with Troux Technologies, whose house suffered water damage during extreme flash flooding in Nashville, Tenn. in early May.

Initially, Daniels did not file a claim after pumping four feet of water out of his cellar, but later realized there was more damage than he’d realized. On Friday, June 4th he filed a claim via DisasterAssistance.gov. He keyed in his name and address and the type of disaster.

“Before I know it, it figured the date when the event occurred, what kind of problem I had and what I would need,” Daniels said. The next day, he got a call from a FEMA representative who wanted to come to check his house on Monday.

The only problem? Daniels was at the GTRA conference.

He was able to reschedule, though. “I’m whining,” he said, noting that he knows of other folks who lost everything except for their birth certificates, wedding pictures or dog.

Posted on Jun 18, 2010 at 12:11 PM


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