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Disaster planning: how simulation and aggregation help

At this time of worry about a possible flu pandemic and terrorist attacks its good to know that computers are helping medical staff to prepare.

This article Bits and Bytes: Video Games and Disaster Training describes how gaming software is being used to prepare staff to deal with major incidents.

In the December 2005 edition of "Wired" (p208) "Reinventing 911" describes how a community in Portland Oregon has improved its emergency services.

No matter how much we plan, disasters are addressed by intelligent improvisation. In order to be effective and overcome the human tendency to pause before acting, warnings must not be seen as single events but as a series of triggers for actions by informal networks.

The Emergency Digital Information Service (EDIS) aggregates weather forecasts, alerts and official warnings into a single database which can be transmitted to police, emergency centres and television newsrooms.

A common alerting protocol (CAP) tags events by location and urgency, allowing emergency services--police, firefighters and paramedics--to share information in a common format and to filter it according to its relevance.


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