Intelligence in times of need

The following was originally posted on the ITS Forum, and then repeated on the Electronic National Dialogue on Transportation Operations.

Posted By: Barry Drogin
National Associations Working Group for ITS
Date: Saturday, 15 September 2001, at 6:45 a.m.

There are a host of important topics and lessons learned that the recent events in New York should be prompting us to consider. This is not a forum for prayers for those missing or for families who have lost loved ones, nor is it a forum for national foreign policy debates. But consider some of the following, which apply to public agencies, design consultants, equipment suppliers, construction employees, information providers - all members of the ITS community.

1. How detailed are your disaster recovery plans? What technologies do they rely upon? Do they rely upon the presence of public resources not under your control? Are there multiple communication routes using differing technologies?

2. How deeply have your security people thought about protection against terrorism? What level of protection have you decided to deploy?

3. Beyond simple fire drills, what kind of evacuation training are you providing? What do you tell your employees to do once they have vacated a building? Should they loll around the base of the building amongst emergency personnel, staring at the carnage, or do they know to evacuate the area, both for their own safety and to leave room for incoming emergency personnel?

4. What multi-modal means of transportation are available during a regional emergency? What if one means of transportation is disabled? If you have created evacuation plans, do they take into account the loss of some transportation modes? How do you get information to those evacuating?

5. To what extent do you rely upon the use of infrastructure that you do not supply? What if you lose power? What if a large number of people are trying to use cell phones and landline telephones at the same time? What if substations and hubs are disabled?

6. In urban areas, how do you get information to people in times of emergency? What if your broadcast structure is targeted? Do individuals have portable radios and televisions? Are broadcasters reporting the news to curious people outside of the affected region, or are they conveying important information to those directly affected?

7. If people must evacuate their homes, schools and place of employment, how are their information, transportation and communication needs being met? Is your local media repeating national news, or are they providing local information? If you are inundated with national media, are any journalists gathering information that the locals need, or is it all just to please the curiousity of the nation?

Link back to My Personal September 11 Page.

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Last Updated: September 12, 2007