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FW: EM Standards List

From: Don Cameron <donc@internode.on.net>
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2008 16:24:07 +1100
To: "'public-xg-eiif'" <public-xg-eiif@w3.org>
Message-ID: <001701c876a5$7af46ea0$0302a8c0@NBK001>

Renato, all,

It's a misnomer to believe there are few or no standards within the domain
of emergency management, although understandable for lay-persons because
many, probably most emergency management organisations and accrediting
authorities have/use proprietary standards and dictionaries - (NIIMS
(National Interagency Incident Management System), AIIMS (Australian
Inter-agency Incident Management System), FireZone etc. etc. all contain
common language used across the sector.

Reasons for proprietary developments and ownership are in a part a
cost-recovery exercise for orgs facing ever increasing financial liability
(EM orgs are well positioned to provide tools and standards to other Govt,
commercial and non EM sector interests), although mostly due to the simple
capacity of larger Emergency Management orgs to undertake the necessary
research and finance internal developments under international cooperative
agreements. Eg: I am a graduate in Emergency Management from the NSW Police
Academy and hold EM competency, ICS and trainer quals from the NSW Fire
Services. My quals in Fire Cause Determination (Arson Investigation) were
provided by the Victorian Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources; quals
in Disaster Fire Weather by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. These and
other quals are all standards-based under international cooperative
agreements so I can walk into any EOC during any disaster in Sydney,
Bangkok, Tokyo, Colombo, Ottawa or pretty much anywhere else on earth
knowing the language of the disaster will be the same; the ontology of
dispatch, investigations, control, planning and resource management will be
the same everywhere; a T-Card is a T-Card, a resource board a resource board
with the same field definitions no matter where I am; my knowledge will be
on par with similarly positioned and trained people from other
internationally accredited EM organisations. 

This ability for disaster managers to work together even across
international boundaries with little or no advance warning is paramount to
effective disaster mitigation.

There are obvious exceptions - Until recent years the US was alone amongst
developed nations in being fractionally structured with a myriad of local EM
orgs and departments operating under no real federal mandate or common
management statute, however this all changed post 911 and Katrina. Similarly
a lot of third-world countries are yet to develop a national EM structure,
supportive legislative framework and join the international EM community.
This is why countries like Australia, the US, Canada and Japan etc. are
doing a lot of work resourcing, training and otherwise helping these
countries in recognition that global disasters can no longer can be seen to
have national boundaries. The SE Asian Tsunami changed a lot of thinking in
this regard! 

EM Standards are mostly disseminated through national govt authorities (eg:
Australian Fire Authorities Council), and professional membership of EM
organisations and associations (eg: the International Association of Arson
Investigators, and International Association of Fire Chiefs). Most EM
professionals understand the importance of common standards, and we don't
mind if it's the Canada or Japan who profit through developing a particular
proprietary standard one week, because we know that next week it might be
the US, Sri Lanka or Australia who develops best-practice, builds (and
sells) a proprietary EM standard and system. 

While it's important to recognise the contributions of groups like Oasis and
OGC etc, it's vitally important to consider the influence of these to the
real-world practice of emergency management. Nothing becomes a standard
without sector buy-in, and I think we really need to consider weighting
various standards in accord with recognition and practice. 

My question to this group - how do we incorporate all the practiced,
recognised, accredited proprietary EM standards into this initiative? -
Should we be approaching FEMA, EMA, JICA, CFA, MCDEM, IAAI etc. for
permission to interrogate and use their EM standards, languages and systems?
If so who will undertake this task? 

PS - I'm not sure who started cross-posting this thread to the
humanitarian-ict list, however do we wish to continue or should discussions
be kept to the w3.org list? 

Best regards,
Don Cameron  
Received on Sunday, 24 February 2008 05:24:18 UTC

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