Establishing an Electronic Network for Flood Recovery

  • Baker, David E.;
  • Reynolds, Stephen, J.;
  • Scharf, Ted;
  • Hennessy, Colleen;
  • Adams, A.;
  • Kovacs, D.

Flood recovery workers have reported continuing problems with respect to the identification, management and dissemination of the basic information necessary for the complex process of disaster response and recovery, (e.g., basic safety and health information regarding environmental hazards, general safety, and farm family stress). First, obtaining dependable, consistent information has proven to be a tremendous problem in flood recovery. In some regions, different agencies issued conflicting recommendations with respect to various aspects of flood response. Second, gaining access to the information has proven to be very difficult as well. Consequently, The University of Iowa Flood Response Workshop identified the need to improve communication between service providers, and to establish a peer-reviewed, information clearinghouse and resource center.

A variety of solutions have been proposed to address the problem of information management. In addition to traditional printed resources in libraries and elsewhere, CD-ROM technology has made possible a portable resource of tremendous capacity (Pierce Jones, Univ. of Florida). On-line access to libraries and to various forms of electronic bulletin boards has expanded exponentially the amount of available information. Finally, electronic discussion lists permit communication among social service and other professionals across large distances, with a complete cycle of question and answer in as little as a single day.

One of the principal issues on the agenda of the St. Louis "Legacy of the Flood" workshop was an examination of this problem of rapid access to reliable disaster response and recovery information. One component of the solution to this problem was recommended by the Iowa workshop and established at the St. Louis workshop. As an outcome of both workshops, a LISTSERV-based, electronic discussion list, FLOOD-L, has been created at the University of Missouri - Columbia. The goals of the discussion list are to facilitate day-to-day communication between flood recovery workers throughout the nine-state region, and to store relevant, consistent information for retrieval via e-mail. The goals, structure and potential applications of the FLOOD-L electronic network are discussed as a model for information dissemination and rapid inter-agency communication and coordination.

This research abstract was extracted from a portion of the proceedings of "Agricultural Safety and Health: Detection, Prevention and Intervention," a conference presented by the Ohio State University and the Ohio Department of Health, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The authors noted above are from: NIOSH, Cincinnati, OH; Kent State Univ., Kent, OH; Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, MO; Fed. Office of Rural Health Policy, Washington, DC; The Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City, IA and Fed. Office of Rural Health Policy, Washington, DC respectively

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