Emergency Management 4
The Governor’s Division of Emergency Management should expand its current Web site to provide more information related to emergency planning and information during a crisis as well as develop a best practices database on emergency management.
When a disaster strikes, whether it is man-made or natural, there are many issues to deal with in coping with the disaster and then recovering when it is over. Citizens need information, but are not always sure where to find it, and in cases of emergency, time is critical. Texans need a single source of information to reduce confusion and increase access to information and services before, during and after a disaster.
The Governor’s Division of Emergency Management (DEM) currently has a Web site that provides some information on emergency planning (http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem/). DEM has recently added a page to its Web site for Texas Domestic Terrorism Information, including a checklist to help families plan for an emergency. This Web site should be expanded to include information on finding missing people, locating hospitals, benefits and assistance, potential scams, fraud and travel. It should include information on various sources of aid, including federal, state or local governments or relief organizations. The Web site should also include checklists for various entities such as schools, businesses, state agencies or local governments for readiness and recovery under disaster conditions.
TexasOnline, the state’s web-based portal, is a statewide initiative that provides an open window to government services, allowing citizens to quickly locate and access a variety of electronic services and information offered by state and local government. In coordination with the Department of Information Resources, DEM should establish a front-page link on TexasOnline for emergency response and notification. If possible, within the Department of Information Resources and TexasOnline resources, citizens should have the option of signing up through the portal for automatic e-mail notifications when a state of disaster is declared by the Governor.
In addition, the DEM should establish and maintain a database of best practices that can be accessed through the Web site and used by schools, local governments and businesses to share ideas on emergency management.
This recommendation has no significant fiscal impact to the state.