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Fugate's Call for Better Predictive Technologies

I'm a bit conflicted on this one.

by Eric Holdeman / December 31, 2019

In this blog, I've repeatedly called for emergency managers to adopt current technologies that can make them more effective emergency managers. I'd first called out social media that is still not being leveraged to the extent that is possible during disasters. This includes not just pushing out messages, but also using social media for situational awareness. 

If there was one other area ripe for exploitation it's WebEOC. There has never been a more widely adopted information management tool that their customers are unhappy with. Other companies are trying — yet something that pops and people say "wow!" has yet to be found. If there was one word I'd use to describe an ideal system it would be "intuitive." Disasters don't come frequently enough for the infrequent user to be proficient with the existing systems. 

Then there is this op-ed/infomercial by Craig Fugate, Why we need a technology revolution in emergency management. As I was reading it, I was thinking, "I sure hope that Craig discloses his relationship to One Concern," where he serves as the senior emergency manager representative. Fugate was very techie oriented when he was the FEMA administrator and an early proponent of the use of social media.

In this past year, there was a New York Times piece on One Concern [Note: there is a pay wall] that was a bit of a hit job on the company and what they say they can do as far as predictive analysis at the time of a disaster. Go to my Disaster-Zone Blog and search "One Concern" and there are about eight stories on the company and what they claim to be able to do. 

Way back in 2017, their pricing for the software was all out of wack — looking initially for $1M for usage of the software. I told them then that it was a totally unfeasible number — even for extra-large emergency management organizations. They have changed, but not sure to what — at this writing. The jury is still out on One Concern. They need a really big disaster that provides a predictive solution for where the damages will be found and that is "within the realm of being accurate."

If you are beginning to think about New Year's resolutions, you might add "Adoption of technology" to your list for 2020. Something that would be within reach is the use of social media, and not just by your public information officer (PIO)!


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