contracts, is crucial to its timely and effective use in disaster response. Remotely sensed imagery should be available for all phases of disaster management, and its acquisition should be better coordinated among federal agencies and enabled through the development of IDIQ contracts and through partnerships with federal agencies having such contracts. Advantage should be taken of advances currently being made in remotesensing technology using the full range of fixed-wing, helicopter, UAV, and satellite platforms.
RECOMMENDATION 5: Standing contracts and other procurement mechanisms should be put in place at local, regional, and national levels by the responsible agencies to permit state and local emergency managers to acquire overhead imagery and other types of event-related geospatial data rapidly during disasters.
As noted and documented in previous sections of this report, data and information are critical to the responders and emergency managers dealing with a disaster. The committee heard that information may be known by first responders on the front line but not known by managers in the command post or the emergency operations center (EOC) or by other agencies. Cultural differences between various groups of responders, such as police and fire organizations, can also inhibit communication of information. This information may include such things as knowledge of road closures and inundated areas, specific information about damage to infrastructure, or the location of disaster victims trapped in homes or other buildings. Inability to communicate this information between responders, and between responders and managers, can delay critical action and add unnecessarily to loss of life, personal injury, and property damage.
Flow of information to management groups at higher levels within the responding agencies and the sharing of data with FEMA and other agencies are essential components of the response. The National Response Plan’s Emergency Support Function (ESF) 5, discussed in Section 3.3.3, and the Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC) serve the overall disaster information function, supporting planning and decision making at both the field or regional and the headquarters levels with information from all sources. All data of interest to those outside the agency collecting them should be provided to ESF 5 and the HSOC. Similarly, ESF 5 and the HSOC should be providing necessary data to other responding agencies (e.g., road outage information should be collected by municipalities or the state police and provided to ESF and HSOC, who would redistribute these data to all responding agencies for whom this is important.) Imagery ac-