EIIP Virtual Forum Presentation August 15, 2007
EIIP Virtual Forum 10th Anniversary Celebration
EIIP Board Members, Partners, Past Speakers, and Friends of the Forum
The following version of the transcript has been edited for easier reading and comprehension. A raw, unedited transcript is available from our archives. See our home page at http://www.emforum.org
[Welcome / Introduction]
Avagene Moore: Good afternoon / morning, Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome to the 10th Anniversary Party of the EIIP Virtual Forum! We are delighted that you are here to share this momentous occasion with us. Today, we will hear from a few folks who have been instrumental in the EIIPs development, growth and success over the last 10 years. Some of our participants were with us in the beginning and many have joined us along the way as speakers, Partners, Board members, and / or Forum supporters.
We are indebted to each of you and have received words of congratulations from folks near and far as we prepared for today. We will share some of their comments with you and hear from a few folks who are online with us today.
Before sharing some history, I want to personally acknowledge my partner and associate in this effort, Amy Sebring. Amy contacted me by email as we were beginning to organize the EIIP. She has been instrumental in the development of the EIIP Virtual Forum and all the technical aspects of our efforts. I cant say enough about her contributions -- without her we wouldnt be here today. Amy, I am grateful -- thank you!
Lori Wieber is also a great help to us. I am sure most of you notice her in our audience each time we meet. Lori is our backup and a very good one. She keeps up with who is here so we can monitor our growth and new online participants; she edits the transcripts -- no small job! Thank you, Lori!
I also want to acknowledge a former assistant online with us today -- Isabel McCurdy. Many of you know her. She was our steadfast help for several years when we first began the Forum. Isabel has moved on to her own endeavors now but we appreciated all your help, Isabel. So good to see you here today.
We acknowledge all the EIIP Partners. You are very special to us and we will mention more about the Partners when Amy speaks today. And now to our lineup for today. We will cover a bit of history, look to the future, and also check out a few improvement / enhancements underway. Some of you will remember that the concept for the EIIP was originated by the:
All of these groups are listed as original Partners of the EIIP along with all our distinguished Partners.
How did the EIIP originate? In 1996, there were two conferences at Mt. Weather in Berryville, Virginia that resulted in a loosely formed organization that depended primarily on Work Groups to accomplish established goals. The Emergency Information Infrastructure Partnership was born and envisioned as a partnership representing all levels of government as well as academia, the private sector, and volunteer organizations.
From this effort, the EIIP Core Group met at the Emergency Management Institute (EMI), Emmitsburg, Maryland, for a three-day strategic planning session March 12-14, 1997. A strategic plan was developed with the primary focus the development of the EIIP Virtual Forum, an all-new web site to accomplish the vision and meet the challenges of that meeting.
Through diligent effort, trial and error, and support of many loyal people with diverse interests in seeing education, information sharing, and networking being accomplished through the Internet, the EIIP was developed and has been sustained now for 10 years.
We conducted our first Virtual Forum 10 years ago today. The topic was "Taxonomy." We haven't conquered that problem quite yet. But we are working on it, right? If you would like to read more detail about our history, please check our "EIIP History" on our homepage.
To each of you here today and more than 500 speakers over the past 10 years, our Partners, Board members, current and past, and all online participants -- thank you! You have made this the most fulfilling work I have ever been involved in and I am sure Amy feels the same. And now I would like to introduce the EIIP Board of Directors. We are extremely proud of the EIIP Board. Currently, the members are:
Avagene Moore: To speak to us today is Joanne McGlown, Chair of the EIIP Board. Dr. Joanne McGlown works as an independent consultant in prehospital and healthcare delivery aspects of emergency management, including preparedness and consequence management, and is currently engaged in her private practice assisting states, hospital associations and other clients with medical aspects of terrorism-related planning and preparedness. She serves on many national emergency management committees and is a noted speaker on the topic of hospital preparedness for terrorism.
Joanne, please, I turn the floor to you.
Joanne McGlown: Good morning, friends and colleagues. On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff, we are so pleased to have you join us on this very special day. We celebrate not only the vision of Avagene Moore, who conceived and built this Forum, but those who have supported it so graciously over the last ten years.
You may not realize how successful the EIIP Virtual Forum has become and what a marvelous vehicle it is for knowledge transfer and interaction. If I may, I would like to share some statistics that I feel may surprise you. Over the last two years, (February 2005 -- April 2007) our web site has had over 2.1 MILLION hits, averaging 2,700 hits a day. The average visit is 21 minutes in length, and 80% of our traffic is from the U.S.
Our most active date was April 11, 2007 with 9,936 hits on that day. The topic? "The NEW FEMA" -- and almost 2100 views of this transcript occurred in the week following the presentation.
The EIIP prides itself in the diversity of topics and speakers featured since 1997. As a rule, all transcripts average at least 500 views over the next 2-3 months after posting on the EIIP Virtual Forum site. However, the average for the two years is 700 views due to some session transcripts drawing abnormally high interest over a longer period of time.
So what are the leaders of the topics that were viewed more than 1,000 times?
2,601 views on 12/14/05 as Madhu Beriwal of IEM, Inc presented Hurricane Pam and Hurricane Katrina; Pre-event Lessons Learned
2,354 views of 10/12/95 as Art Lerner-Lam of Columbia University presented Natural Disasters Hotspots: A Global Risk Analysis
1,879 views of 9/14/05 as Richard Sylves of the University of Delaware presented Revolution Needed in U.S. Emergency Management.
1,877 views of 3/08/05 with Michael Selves, IAEM Government Affairs Committee Chair presenting Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned?
1,872 views of 1/24/07 as Elena Bulova of IAEA presented First Response to Radiological Emergencies: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Four transcripts from as far back as 1999 are still pulling very high numbers, and reflect the interest of issues and history that have formed the base of our knowledge in a variety of areas. These include:
21,346 views of 5/04 as Lloyd Bokman, NFPA Technical Committee Chair, presented The American National Preparedness Standard: An Update on NFPA 1600
5,369 views of the 3/01 Mark Rose presentation (National Weather Service) on The Forgotten F5-The Lawrence County Supercell
2,587 views of the 11/00 presentation by yours truly on New JCAHO Emergency Management Standards for Health Care Facilities, and
2,252 views of 3/99 by Kay Goss (FEMA), Brent Woodworth (IBM Global Services), Butch Smith (State of Texas Div. of Emergency Management), and Dr. Gary Webb, (University of Delaware) on Special Event: Student Day.
Our list of presenters -- all volunteers, in case you were wondering -- reads like the "Whos Who" of our professions, and we are very proud to have their interest and support of the EIIP.
Our formal partners of interested organizations and agencies now number 250, and they represent domestic and international organizations, agencies, academic institutions and/or volunteer groups. Our Private Sector Partnerships are approaching 50% of all partnerships. We thank our partners for supporting our growth and success.
With 1,254 subscribers and growing, we hope you will spread the word to others who may benefit from the most current knowledge shared by the most knowledgeable individuals in the industry. There is lots of room in cyberspace and we would love to welcome them to the EIIP family.
As Chairman of the Board, Im pleased to say that the future looks brighter than ever for the EIIP. Members of the Board met in a strategic planning retreat last month and have developed a new approach to strengthen the organization and our service to the industry and to you. We look forward to sharing that plan with you in the near future. It is my pleasure and honor to serve with such an impressive group of Board members and with Avagene and Amy as we passionately pursue excellence in the field of emergency management, information and knowledge.
We welcome your input, suggestions for improvement, requests for topics and speakers, and your support as we strive to better serve you in the years to come. Happy Birthday, EIIP! And many, many more. And thanks to all of you for joining us today!
Avagene Moore: Thank you for those kind words, Joanne. We also have with us today some very special people in the evolution of the EIIP. First of all, we want to hear from Chip Hines. Chip was our Project Office for most of the past 10 years. He retired from DHS on June 1 of this year. Not only was he a wonderful man to work with, he is our friend. Chip, please.
Chip Hines: Thanks, it is GREAT to be here. Sometime in the mid to late 90s I had the privilege of managing a cooperative agreement between FEMA and the fledgling EIIP. It was being run by Avagene Moore, whom I knew of by reputation and a firebrand named Amy Sebring. Working with these two professionals has been challenging and wonderful. They both are experienced emergency management professionals who bring a unique mix of knowledge, experience, diplomacy, cajoling and brilliance to the job.
And, they sure were never shy about helping me find the right thing to do. They recognized a need and organized the EIIP as a means of helping build the information technology interplay with emergency management professionals. Under their management, the EIIP has been able to not only help raise awareness of the need for information technology, but has facilitated access to a wealth of information, experts and senior policy officials in the field.
I think it is an understatement to say that the emergency management profession has benefited greatly from the EIIP. But I dont want (and I know Avagene and Amy certainly wouldnt want) you to think they do this alone. Our thanks should also go out to the efforts of the EIIP board members, to the EIIP member/partner organizations, and to DHS. Finally, its the you - the participants - those who attend the forums, download the transcripts, ask questions, spread the word and who implement what you hear that are really responsible for the success of EIIP.
Im truly proud of my small role in the EIIP, and more importantly, pleased at the growth and impact of EIIP. There is, however, a lot to do - and the challenge we all face is in helping to ensure that the EIIP continues to flourish. Probably the biggest things that you can do are to participate and spread the word.
Id also suggest that you let DHS know that the EIIP is important to you, and that you believe that funding should continue. Success stories cant hurt either. In a time of consolidation of efforts into DHS, it is vital that DHS (and perhaps your congressman) knows what is important to YOU - the ones who protect our country everyday.
Congratulations to the EIIP for the tremendous work you have done for the emergency management and related professions over the last 10 years. Lets join to make the next 10 even better!
Avagene Moore: Thank you, Chip. You are such an encouragement to us! Lloyd Bokman served on the EIIP Board of Directors for 5 years. He served as the Board Chair for much of that time and is a regular participant in the Forum. He is still active in emergency management at the state level and works with the Ohio State Emergency Management Office. Lloyd is with us today. Lloyd, please, I turn the floor to you.
Lloyd Bokman: Thank you, Avagene. The reason that the EIIP has been a success is due to the interest and participation of you, our friends and colleagues, over the years. Thank you for your support and your commitment to this project that perhaps started as an experiment, but has become a staple of information in our field of endeavor. I would also like to thank our "speakers" from over the years for providing us with such valuable information, insights and inspiration.
The EIIP has and continues to involve a lot of work from not only the presenters but also from the EIIP staff volunteers, especially Lori and Isabel. In addition to the maintenance of the web site and forum, many dont realize the number of tasks and related EIIP projects that go on behind the scenes, such as the work with DHS and the Battelle Research Institute. I encourage you to read the EIIP Annual Report to read about this work.
I want to especially give my thanks and congratulations, for not just ten years of work, but for ten years of a very special commitment to professionalism, excellence, and the emergency management field to Avagene and Amy. Their vision and hard work defines the reason for the success of the EIIP. I think all past and present members of the EIIP Board agree that there are none better than Ava and Amy. So, Happy 10th Anniversary EIIP! May there be many more!!!
Avagene Moore: How nice of you, Lloyd. Thank you for all your help and support! We are pleased to see Scott Eyestone here today. Scott is the Lead of the DMIS Responder Liaison Team and a good friend of the EIIP. We have worked with Scott and the rest of the team for several years now. Scott, I turn the floor to you.
Scott Eyestone: Thank you. It was March 2000. The Marine Corps Systems Command Battelle had just awarded Battelle a contract called Consequence Management Interoperability Services (CMIS). Its two objectives were to "develop a nationally-scalable data sharing infrastructure and basic software tools to assist operations centers during disaster incident response." Given my recent experience with data sharing among electronic medical records and military experience with disaster operations, I was being asked to serve on the team.
The very first thing I did was enter "disaster + interoperability" in a web search engine. The first hit was for this thing called Emergency Information Infrastructure Partnership (EIIP) that seemed to be associated with something called emforum.org.
Fast forward seven years. For most of those 7 years, weve had Avagene and Amy deeply engaged with the DHS Disaster Management program -- an outcome of CMIS -- providing Special Interest Group webcasts twice a month, the Disaster Management programs listserv, the SIGnals newsletter, and many other outreach services.
Happy Birthday EM Forum - heres to many more good years together! -- Scott Eyestone, Battelle, Responder Liaison, DHS Disaster Management Program.
Avagene Moore: A toast to you, Scott. Very nice! It has been a joy to work with you and the DM RL Team. Thank you! We heard from a few people that could not be here with us today. I told them I would share their remarks with you. The first is from Kay Goss. Kay writes:
"Congratulations to Avagene, Amy, and all EM Forum supporters/participants through the ten amazing years! It was my pleasure to be there at the creation in 1997, providing FEMA financial assistance at the beginning, and to be a speaker on two occasions.
First, while serving as Associate FEMA Director in charge of National Preparedness, Training, and Exercises, I preached a very strong preparedness/partnership message. The second time was earlier this year, at which time I discussed the work of the ASTM Working Group on School Emergency Preparedness Standard Guidelines, of which I serve as Co-Chair with Joe Adams of Georgia.
One of the major reasons I have always been cheering EIIP on and supporting them with my head and my heart -- from the academic classroom, private sector sidelines, or on center court representing President Clinton, wherever I found myself at a given time.
Just last month, I assigned my students in the Human Considerations in Disaster Management class at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas the EIIP session on "Children in Disaster." A little earlier in the month, I suggested that my Emergency Management and Crisis Communications staff at SRA International check out EIIP session by Lu Canton on Emergency Operations Centers.
Keep up the great work and always know I am your advocate."
Avagene Moore: Thank you, Kay, for those kind words and your support. We also have a few words from Mike Selves, President of IAEM. Mike writes:
"Avagene, on behalf of IAEM and its Board of Directors, let me congratulate you on the 10th Anniversary of the EIIP Virtual Forum. This unique and valuable venue for sharing and discussing the critical Emergency Management issues of the day has developed and matured over the past ten years.
Having participated in a number of your forums, I can attest to the superb service the Forum provides. This online discussion opportunity is a perfect complement to the other methods that IAEM uses to provide information to our members and the general E.M. community. Thanks for all you do and we look forward to another ten years of this great partnership."
Thanks to Mike and IAEM. And from Jan Zastrow, a Partner in Hawaii, Hyperclick Online Services:
"Congratulations on TEN years with the EIIP ... that's just fantastic! You know, you and Amy started something so innovative and useful-- and after a decade it remains just as lively, innovative and useful as ever! Thanks for all your hard work, foresight and diligence, Avagene, to keep EIIP going through thick and thin!"
Thank you, Jan! And from Bob Robinson, now an American Red Cross volunteer:
"Wow, 10 years! Congratulations on the 10 years and on the quality site and service you have provided us in those 10 years. Even though I am retired (sort of...) I like to keep up with whats going on and see what applies to the American Red Cross chapter where I volunteer. One of the best informational sites is the EIIP Virtual Forum. Keep up the great work and I hope you'll be around another 10 years."
Avagene Moore: And now, I turn the floor to Amy, my partner and associate. Amy, please.
Amy Sebring: Thanks Avagene. I am briefly going to put up some screenshots of some new features on our Website that we are working on.
First, we want to enhance our value to our participating Partners. As a start, we are enhancing our partner list. From our homepage, on the left hand navigation menu, near the bottom, there is a link named 'Our Partners'. If you click on that, it takes you to an alphabetical listing. We are in the process of implementing a feature that if you move your mouse pointer over a link to a Partner's website, it will open a small text box (if your settings allow scripts).
In the box will be either a mission statement or a description of the partner organization. This is a work in progress, but we hope it will be a useful feature when it is completed. Here is an example:
Next, you may be aware that about once a week we post news items that are accessed from near the top of our homepage. Please note on this next slide that we have added an RSS feed option, denoted by the orange box to the right of the news items:
If you are not familiar with how RSS feeds work, if you click on the orange button from Internet Explorer (other browsers will work in a similar manner) you will get the following page. Note the option to Subscribe to this feed.
Also note the gold star on the left of the Internet Explorer Tool Bar. Now, assuming that you have subscribed, a week or so later you can click on that gold star, no matter what is loaded in your browser, and the following is displayed. Note the refresh symbol at the left of the feed title.
If you click on the refresh symbol, it will force an updating of the feed. Then by clicking on the feed title, you will get the updated page. If you click on a news title, it will link to the full story.
Amy Sebring: Finally, (at least for now) we have added a Google Custom Search to our home page, just above the Transcript Index. This will search ONLY the emforum.org Website. In this next example, I have entered the search term 'special needs'.
Now this is a free service from Google that we are testing out, and our ability to customize the output is very limited. For example, we cannot display the results in a frame on our site. But from the results page, you can use your Back arrow on your browser to return to our site.
Lori Wieber and I are working on a project to clean up our document and page titles so that they will be more useful in a search, but they will not start showing up until the next time Google re-indexes our site. Speaking of which, one of the factors that goes into Google's indexing frequency is how many sites link to us, so we encourage ALL our participants and partners to link to us from their own sites!
Ava and I would be happy to hear from you all on how these new features work for you, or if you have other suggestions about how to improve our Website. Please note our email addresses are posted on the page "About Us."
Next on the agenda, we are going to test out a new Moderation feature here in the chat room. This is in the nature of an experiment, and we need your participation and feedback.
Those of you who have participated in the past are familiar with our normal Q&A protocol, which is the use of question marks. This presents us with two drawbacks: 1) the flow of the Q&A is interspersed with the question marks, which makes our transcript editing job more difficult and 2) sometimes we get some 'finger slippage" which confuses the proceedings. So a moderation feature that comes with the chat may help us eliminate those drawbacks. However, it may be more trouble than it is worth. That's what we want to find out.
Now, if you type and send something into the chat, it will not immediately appear. Instead, the Moderator (in this case me) will get the message to review and release. So you will not have to wait until you are called upon to put in your question or comment.
What we would like to do now, is take any questions you may have about the features I just demonstrated, how you feel about the moderation feature, or any birthday comments you may have. We are ready to begin now.
Burt Wallrich: Sorry to butt in but I gotta run, folks. Party On! I just want to say that Avagene and Amy have been wonderful colleagues and friends and EIIP is a great source of information and inspiration.
Amy Sebring: Thanks Burt.
Carolyn Harshman: Avagene - My heartfelt congratulations to you and all who bring EIIP to the world! You have created a wonderful medium for sharing contemporary opinions and information with the practitioners in Emergency Management. Thank You and Congratulations!
Susan Cutter: I just want to say congrats.
Isabel McCurdy: THANK you for welcoming me with open arms so many years ago. I'm SO very proud to part of this wonderful outreach program. Wonderful EMFORUM world! What a blessing! Cheers and best wishes. Happy birthday!!!
Louise Comfort: Amy and Ava, congratulations on keeping EIIP going through multiple changes...and still being innovative and upbeat in the process!
Madhu Beriwal: Avagene, I had the pleasure of working with EIIP and you particularly on a forum on Katrina and Lessons Learned. It was a unique experience to feel connected to the emergency management community electronically and see the issues and questions that interested them. You made the process simple and painless.
I wish the EIIP Forum many successful years more from all of us at Innovative Emergency Management (IEM)! Happy to see so many colleagues on the forum today - including Jack Long, Claire Rubin, Susan Cutter, and many more.
Rocky Lopes: Seriously, friends, I am very impressed. I am in Italy for my twin brother's wedding, but wanted to take time to participate to THANK YOU and send my fond regards for a job very well done and a great future ahead!
Joanne McGlown: Isabel - the EIIP would like to welcome more international members. Please spread the word of this great service with all!
Isabel McCurdy: I surely will Joanne. And I do!
Elizabeth Davis: All - this is a great service and a fun community too. I have to jump off (sorry to leave the party early) but I will have some cake today in your honor!
Steve Bender: I want to add my congratulations to you, Avagene and Amy, the volunteer staff, and all the partners for pushing forward an agenda that needs airing, is creative, and has a great future ahead.
Avagene Moore: This is nice. Please, everyone online, comment/input to your heart's desire.
Jo Schweikhard Moss: I'm proud to echo those sentiments!!! Good job, and those of us with school emergency preparedness are pleased that you make such an effort to include us in this process.
Amy Sebring: We have a number of our former speakers here with us today, Jo is one of them and I just want to echo how VITAL they are to this effort. Also very glad to have Beth Armstrong from IAEM with us!
Bill Nicholson: This sounds like a great idea - if the moderator can keep up with the flow! Always a pleasure and an intellectually stimulating experience to be involved in a conversation here!
Russell Coile: Avagene & Amy, years ago you had a library and invited us to send in articles we had written which you then sorted by subject. Do you have any plans to do something like that in the future? What became of your library? Perhaps you should give it to the Hazard Research Center at U of C for their library.
Rocky Lopes: I like the briefing about the new features, and will appreciate your gentle and ongoing education on how to make the best use of them.
Jane Kushma: EIIP... always innovative and informative... and such a bright future, too! The new features are great! Happy Birthday!
Jo Schweikhard Moss: Thanks Amy, and congratulations on a job well done!!!
Joanne McGlown: Just a plug for our September 12th session on NIMS Compliance for hospitals and healthcare organizations. If this topic is near and dear to you (or even if it is not), please join us for the latest information and guidance concerning this vital program. I'll see you online!
Steve Charvat: I just want to say how proud I am of the EIIP forum to keep up with current events and to allow such a wide variety of speakers to present; including some controversial ones (which is always healthy!) for a growing profession!
Amy Sebring: Ok, thanks so much for helping us test this out. It has been a big help.
Dewayne West: Avagene and Amy, let me add my congratulations to all the others. I concur with all the comments and accolades. The only thing I have found a problem with EIIP, is finding the time to participate more. It is a great forum and sure makes our world a smaller place. Keep up the good work.
Louise Comfort: Truly special about EIIP is the vision of creating a "common operating picture" for the emergency management community. Marvelous job....and do keep it up for many more years!
Avagene Moore: Thanks, Dewayne. The transcripts are a hot part of our site. A lot of traffic there.
Joanne McGlown: I think we should all write our Congressman and funding agencies (as advised) to let them know how special and vital the EIIP is. The organization does need your help, and Chips suggestions are greatly appreciated (this guy knows!). Please join in this writing campaign. Let's see what the power of the people can do for EIIP!
Chip Hines: I think its important to send the message that even if one cant participate on line, the transcripts provide a tremendous benefit.
Avagene Moore: Thanks for the suggestion, Chip and Joanne.
Michael Farinacci: This is my first time in the chat and I must say I am very impressed. My thanks to Amy, Avagene, the Board and honored guests. I found out about the forum through networking with a participant at a State Health & Safety Conference. All the best in the future!!!
Steve Detwiler: I have to say it was a badge of honor when EIIP asked me to present on here. Thanks Amy and Avagene!
Roger Fritzel: Thanks for the statistics presented earlier; it is clear that EIIP is a resource for many who may not be online regulars.
Paula Gordon: Building on Chip Hines' thought a few minutes ago, I find it particularly helpful to use EIIP forums and archives for assignments in classes I teach as an adjunct on homeland security and emergency management.
Chip Hines: Paula brings up a good point - there are probably lots of good things going on using EIIP information - I wonder if there is a way to capture it for others to take advantage of or to learn about this additional EIIP value
Monty Gearhart: It has been a true pleasure working with Amy and Avagene over the past 10+ years. (thanks for making me feel old). From the old chat systems, the website, new technologies and such, we have learned so much together. A more professional forum does not exist online. I am proud to a part of this. I am also happy to announce some pretty awesome equipment upgrades for EIIP over the next month that will further ensure continued online success for EIIP. Happy Birthday!
Avagene Moore: Thank you, Monty.
Amy Sebring: Monty and I are working on a new feature. It will take some time to figure it out but if we do get it working, we will let you all know about it.
Joanne McGlown: Members - if you have a project in which you feel EIIP may be a good fit, perhaps enhance your project experience, please contact Avagene. The technology capability is amazing, and we would love to see this expertise shared across greater venues and services. Think of EIIP on all your projects (marketing never hurts :) Thanks, Monty!!
Paula Gordon: Amy, Avagene, and all the Board Members, past and present: Thanks so much for the service that you have provided over the years. Thanks for all your efforts to provide a vehicle for folks to share their work and learn from the experience of others.
Anne Culver: Ava and Amy and your team - you have created a wonderful forum - long may it thrive!
Avagene Moore: To all, it means so much that you are here today. We are very pleased to see so many of our EIIP Board members, past speakers, the DM RL Team and folks who support our educational opportunities. Thanks to all of you for making today so memorable. We appreciate you and wish you all the best! Have a good rest of the day. See you next week for the Virtual Forum. Happy Birthday to us and may there be many, many more!!! Bye now.