IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Accela Updates Disaster Recovery and Response Tech

The cloud-computing supplier has added new features and integrations to its Rapid Damage Assessment tool. The goal is to streamline permitting and inspection and help officials deal with different types of disasters.

The official start of hurricane season has brought another entry into the increasingly crowded field of government technology designed to help during disasters. In this case, it is the expansion of Accela’s Rapid Damage Assessment tool.

The cloud-based tech has new “geospatial and mobile capabilities,” according to a statement, and is available through the company’s Civic Platform.

Rapid Damage Assessment, or RDA, can help officials determine that safety codes are being followed — vital for responses that could include fires and hazardous materials — streamline permitting and automate inspections and cleanup assignments, according to the statement.

The new RDA also includes an integration with Esri’s ArcGIS Survey123, a digital tool to aid disaster inspections, some of which are mandated by agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The update now means the technology can be employed for hurricanes as well as fires, floods, tornadoes and more, said Accela Vice President of Product Management Amber D'Ottavio in an email interview with Government Technology.

“We incorporated these new features and integration to directly address feedback from our customers — allowing communities to better prepare for a natural disaster before it occurs, and respond and recover more quickly to these devastating events,” said D'Ottavio.

She said the company sells “seats” of its software to RDA users, as well as subscription licenses to government agencies using Accela tech.

As more public agencies turn to the latest software and gear, such as drones, for disaster preparedness and recovery, as well as tools to combat the impacts of climate change, gov tech suppliers have found that budgets could be stretched thin given competing digital priorities.

“As more cities and counties look to modernize their services and deliver a better experience to their residents, we expect agencies to continue tapping into billions of available funds, like ARPA [American Rescue Plan Act] funds, especially ahead of upcoming deadlines,” D'Ottavio said. “Whether it’s for natural disaster preparation and recovery, building and planning, solar energy, and more, Accela will continue to innovate our solutions in direct response to customer feedback.”
Thad Rueter writes about the business of government technology. He covered local and state governments for newspapers in the Chicago area and Florida, as well as e-commerce, digital payments and related topics for various publications. He lives in Wisconsin.