Emergency Response: Preparing for Unplanned Events

[Editor’s Note:  Does your state have access to HSIN – the Homeland Security Information Network?  The information below (reprinted from the HSIN Advocate newsletter) may help you use HSIN to establish critical information web pages for use in emergencies.  Read on for more information.]

Emergencies leave little time for planning, but with some strategic preparation, even emergency response operations can run smoothly from the start. HSIN enables users to create a communications framework well in advance of any emergency so affected organizations at every level of government can efficiently access the information they need, when they need it.

Create Event Pages for Quick Deployment

Whenever there is greater potential for an emergency, such as at the beginning of hurricane season, HIN Site Owners can set up event or incident pages in advance with predefined web parts and functionality so that they can be turned on in a moment’s notice. For weather-related events, the basic framework of required information is known well in advance. Emergency planning pages on HSIN can be populated with incident response plans and contact lists along with areas for users in the field to upload documents, input geospatial files and submit images and situational reports.

In addition to the event pages, Site Owners can establish dedicated HSIN Connect rooms and pre-populate them with important, relevant and focused information. This ensures that the room is beneficial to all users, right from the start. Another best practice is to create separate chat rooms so that different user groups can keep conversations and information sharing topic-focused.

Get the Word Out

Make sure that all your partner organizations have appropriate HSIN access and know the correct web addresses to access event-related information.

Conduct Training

Once your HSIN Connect room and event pages are created, use them for drills and training exercises. This will help ensure that users are familiar with the available tools. It is also a good idea to periodically conduct spot training to ensure knowledge is not lost.

Use It, Use It, Use It

The more you use HSIN in your daily routines, the easier, more efficient. and more natural it becomes to use during an event or emergency response operation. We [DHS] recommend incorporating HSIN into training and other planning events and to use HSIN Connect for regular meetings to ensure your users are not only familiar with the platform, but comfortable in its use as well.

To learn additional best practices to help you prepare for unplanned events, contact the HSIN Outreach Team at HSIN.Outreach@hq.dhs.gov.



One Response to Emergency Response: Preparing for Unplanned Events

  1. Evan says:

    Very informative article about HSIN.Thanks for this information.