Edited Version of July 14, 1998 Transcript

EIIP Transcript of Special Chat Event



From the 23rd Annual Hazards Research and Applications Workshop

Boulder, Colorado"  


The following  version of the transcript has been edited for easier reading and comprehension. Typos were corrected, date/time/names attributed by the software to each were deleted but content of discussion, questions, and responses are as stated by each participant. Answers from the presenter to questions by the audience are grouped beneath the appropriate question  to facilitate meaning.




Amy Sebring: Today Avagene is coming to us remote from the conference in Boulder Colorado. She will be telling us about the conference, and some of the participants will be joining us.


Avagene Moore: Yes, the workshop is going great.  Lots of people, about 320 here.  Very diverse group -- an exciting conference.



Amy Sebring: Yes, Avagene, will you give us the actual name of the conference please?


Avagene Moore: 23rd Annual Hazards Research and Applications Workshop, Boulder Colorado.   I have invited a couple of people to join us today.  With me is Anngienetta Johnson, NASA, Washington DC.  I will turn the keyboard over to Anngienetta.



Amy Sebring: For those that have just joined us, Avagene is on location in Boulder.

May we call you Ann for short?  They are swapping places at the keyboard.


Anngienetta Johnson: Hello.  I am Anngie Johnson from NASA.  I joined the conference to tell everyone about a Federal Program for Information Technology (IT) research for emergency management.



Amy Sebring: Have you made a presentation at the conference, Anngie?


Anngienetta Johnson: No.  But  I am planning to present at several conferences in the next few months. There are 12 federal agencies conducting research.  I am trying to influence their research agenda.  We formed a working group of researchers and emergency managers.  We will define what's needed and ask researchers to conduct the appropriate research.  The problem:  what are the requirements?


Amy Sebring: Let's take a couple of audience questions for Anngie. I think we can manage today without using the question mark.



Isabel McCurdy: Anngie, can you elaborate more on "what are the requirements"?


Anngienetta Johnson:  I am looking for IT needs or requirements.  What can't you do today?  I'm not surprised that most of you are silent on this subject.  There are many needs but sometimes it is difficult to express them.



Tim Murphy: Are these 12 federal agencies, the federal laboratories we hear about, such as Brookhaven National Lab?


Anngienetta Johnson: No, Tim. These are the 12 federal agencies that get 90% of the federal IT research budget each year.  Agencies such as DOD, DOE, NSF, NASA,  etc.


Tim Murphy: Information Technology is a very broad topic and many of us are operating at the low end of the user spectrum, GIS products, SAT photos, etc.


Anngienetta Johnson: Tim,  I've been told that most emergency managers either have little technology or very limited technology.  I'm not sure if my effort can help that.  We can make available technologies to help you do your job easier and at less cost.  My job is to determine what research is needed.


Tim Murphy: We could benefit from decision-support products currently available within federal government, but not well known to local government officials.



Amy Sebring: Are you finding some stimulating ideas at the conference, Anngie?


Joe Fletcher: I believe there is a need for a true "all-hazards" system.


Anngienetta Johnson:  Joe, say more about a "true all-hazard system."


Joe Fletcher: FEMA spends too much effort creating single-purpose systems that do not integrate with other FEMA-created systems. Emergency response to disasters all have some common activities and could all be supported with a common GIS for instance.


Anngienetta Johnson:  I'd like to discuss what a common GIS looks like.  Are we addressing interoperability on accessibility to GIS systems?


Amy Sebring: I am with Joe on this; I think GIS is a good match for emergency management.


Joe Fletcher: For instance,  some systems utilize ArcView, other use MapInfo, etc.  These products do not always integrate well.


Anngienetta Johnson: Thanks for the opportunity to share my new activity with you.  I will be asking for your help in a more formal way in the future.  Again thanks.


Amy Sebring: Thanks Anngie. We would love to have you join us in the Tech Arena some day in future. We certainly wish you luck with your project and hope you will let us know more about your efforts in the future.


Avagene Moore: You guys gave Anngie something to think about and she wants to include us in a formal discussion at some point.



Amy Sebring: Terrific.  Can you tell us what is the hot topic at conference so far this year?  Any new ideas being floated out there?


Avagene Moore: Hot topic: Disaster Resistant Communities.


Amy Sebring: Surprise, surprise!



Randy Jackson: Avagene, how does one go about attending this hazards conference?


Avagene Moore: Randy, I believe anyone can attend. 


Mary Blankenship: I thought the conference was by invitation only.


Avagene Moore: Mary, I am not aware that the conference is invitation only.   Speakers and panels are invited of course, but I will check.


My other guest hasn't shown up. They probably grabbed her for another session.  How about I tell you about a couple of sessions?


This is the 23rd year of this conference. The keynote speaker yesterday was someone you would be very interested in, Randy.  In fact, you may know him, Peter Dykstra CNN News.  



Kevin Farrell: Resistant against what disaster(s)?  That's a pretty broad term.


Avagene Moore: Kevin, all disasters are part of the disaster resistant community.



Joe Fletcher: I assume you are talking about Project Impact?


Avagene Moore: Project Impact is only one initiative going on, Joe.  There are Showcase Communities by IBHS and other initiatives that relate.



Joe Fletcher: IBHS?


Mary Blankenship: Institute for Business and Home Safety.


Amy Sebring: We had a chat with them, Joe.



Amy Sebring: What did Peter Dykstra talk about, Avagene?


Avagene Moore: Peter Dykstra, CNN News.  He gave us a sense of the fast paced business of getting the news out to the public and some of the choices they make

One quote from Peter --- "News is a business of immediacy."   He estimated 1/2 million are people are watching CNN at any given hour of the day.  The audience, of course, varies with what is going on in the world.



Randy Jackson: I have heard of Peter, but do not know him. I would love to attend sometime. Is the conference always held at the same time?


Avagene Moore: We also had a good session on El Niño.   In July, Randy. 


We enjoyed a plenary session on El Niño Impacts and Effects.  There were 3 panelists with Roger Pielke, National Center for Atmospheric Research as the moderator. Ed O'Lenic, NOAA/Climate Prediction Center, discussed how advances in atmospheric and ocean models enabled them to give good forecasts about El Niño.  This is an example of research really paying off. (By the way, my hometown made CNN news today due to 8 inches of rain and flooding.)


He also explained that they had regular conference calls with FEMA, ARC and other EM audience during the last few months of El Niño.  He suggested we look at the following URL.  <http://nic/fb4.noaa.gov> 



Randy Jackson: Anything on La Niña?


Avagene Moore: Yes, Randy,  will touch on that. Not a lot said about La Niña but warning people it is coming.


Another point made was that flood forecasting in March 97 were substantially correct.  The great advantage here is that this gives a long lead time. Of course, the future holds La Niña and she is pretty much opposite in effects, or cool water versus warm.


Ed added at the end of his presentation that not everything is explained by these two weather conditions.  If you look at temperatures from 1965, temperatures have been on a fairly even climb upward. 


Joe Fletcher: 102 F. in Salt Lake City today.


Amy Sebring: Yes, you have had the opportunity to meet a number of our former presenters.


Avagene Moore: Yes, I have met several of our presenters.  Today, we heard from two cities who are pursuing either Showcase Community or Project Impact requirements. Met Larry Deetzen, City Manager, Deerfield Beach FL, who participated in our Virtual Forum discussion about Project Impact.  Mr. Deetzen was on a panel as was the Mayor of Evansville Indiana.



Amy Sebring: Have you connected with the gender group?


Avagene Moore: Yes, they are meeting tomorrow at 7 AM.  I will meet with them; also,

the health care sector group that met in a Round Table session with us will meet today at 1 PM.



Mary Blankenship: What is the gender group?


Avagene Moore: There is a Gender Disaster Network that started here last summer, Mary. They have a web site but have not gotten off the ground too well.  The meeting tomorrow will hopefully re-energize them.


Amy Sebring: Will look up the URL, Mary.  <http://www.fiu.edu/orgs/IHC/gender/>


Avagene Moore: Thanks, Amy.


Mary Blankenship: Thanks, will make a note to check them out.



Isabel McCurdy: Is Elaine Enarson there?


Avagene Moore: Also met Diane McClure, IBHS, she was a presenter a few months ago.  Met Jane Kushma, UNT.  No, Elaine is not here but Susan Cutter is; she co-wrote the paper presented by Kirsten Dow a couple of weeks ago.  Lots of very interesting movers and shakers here.


Avagene Moore: Met last Sunday with another group, the Earthquake Information Providers group. They are having problems with a web site and are struggling just as we have.  They asked us to join their group so we can help them a bit.



Isabel McCurdy: Do they have a website up?


Avagene Moore: Yes, but I don't have the URL.  It is EQNet.  Amy may know it.


Amy Sebring: My ISP is giving me problems today. Sorry about that.



Avagene Moore: I have recruited a couple of Partners while here. People are having trouble staying online today.   Bad Internet day?


New Partner this morning is Terrebonne Readiness and Assistance Coalition (TRAC) from Louisiana.  They do a lot of information dissemination, primarily hard copy info. Point of Contact is Peggy Casé. I think this group would make a good Round Table discussion.



Amy Sebring: Did you present yet, Avagene?


Avagene Moore: No, that is later today.   Hope the session goes well. There are 3 or 4 other presenters in the same session. It is entitled  "Information Dissemination: New Technologies and New Issues".


Mary Blankenship: You ought to try to connect with Mary Carrido, President of Association of Contingency Planners.  She is there.


Avagene Moore: Mary, I have talked to Mary Carrido briefly.   Will get with her.  Need ACP as a partner also. I am sorry the lady from IDNDR didn't make it.  I am sure she got caught up in something else.


Randy Jackson: Gotta run, Avagene have a great time, see you all Thursday night.


Amy Sebring: Bye Randy.


Avagene Moore: Thanks, Randy.



Isabel McCurdy: Curious, any Canadians?


Avagene Moore: Yes, there are Canadians here as well as reps from many countries.

Other countries represented are England, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico and China.



Isabel McCurdy: Is this conference held at the same time every year?


Avagene Moore: In July every year, Isabel.  And basically at the same place here in Boulder.  They had one or two years when they couldn't get the hotel so went to Denver.

However, the regular attendees wanted them to bring the workshop back to Boulder.  It is a little more laid back atmosphere.



Amy Sebring: Are they doing a session on researcher / practitioner dialogue this year,  Ava?


Avagene Moore: The topic comes up constantly but I don't think there is a session devoted to that per sé.  There was a session on EM professionalism in which the disconnect was addressed somewhat.



Amy Sebring: Any of our IAEM folks there?


Avagene Moore: No IAEM folks here. 


Final Question:

Isabel McCurdy: Disconnect?


Amy Sebring: The disconnect between researcher and practitioner, Isabel.


Avagene Moore: That session resulted in an add-on meeting to which I was invited. The add-on meeting I mentioned may result in a topic of discussion and some private meetings on the Virtual Forum. Everyone is looking for ways to meet without travel.


Also a consideration for the Private Entity Risk Institute to hold a conference on the site and/or in conjunction with our help. We have done a pretty good job getting the EIIP Virtual Forum out and known, I would say.


Amy Sebring: Well, good luck this afternoon, Avagene. And wish me luck as well with my interview!


Isabel McCurdy: Good luck, Amy!


Avagene Moore: Thanks, I am glad I could be here today.  So glad to 'see' you all.  Yes, Amy, good luck!