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Friday, December 4, 2015

What is the role of technology in resource and agency coordination?

What is the role of technology in resource and agency coordination?
Technology is essentially the creation of tools. Tools are used to make a task more efficient. At the simplest level, you use a hammer to concentrate force on a single spot, or a lever to add force while moving an object. Tools need to be used correctly to be efficient; try pulling out a nail with the striking side of a claw hammer, for example. In terms of resource and agency coordination, technology provides tools to make the tasks of coordination more efficient. Cell phones and satellite radios make mobile communications possible, a thumb drive full of contact numbers and procedural documentation beats the heck out of lugging around a briefcase. Take the case of the FDNY command center during the WTC bombing:
Chief officers at the World Trade Center scene kept track of the location and assignment of units, but they had no way of backing-up their records. For example, the FDNY Field Communications Unit was responsible for tracking the assignment of Fire units to different alarms, towers, and staging areas. This unit worked next to the Incident Command Post and kept records on a magnetic command board, using small magnets placed on a diagram to indicate unit locations. Chief officers at the Operations Posts in the two towers also used magnetic command boards to track the units assigned to their buildings. These boards and the records they kept were destroyed when the towers collapsed” (McKinsey & Company, n.d, p. 11). A tablet with a custom app could have managed that data, and have been backed up automatically through wireless connection. Data collected in the wake of incidents can be analyzed through statistical software to provide better planning for the next such incident. In every component of effective coordination, from communications to data management to interoperability, advances in technology makes these tasks more efficient. “Information technologies and crisis informatics may vastly increase response efficiency by aiding in the communication and interoperability of responding organisations and the communities impacted” (Bevc, Barlau, & Passanante, 2009, p.19)

Why is the strategic planning process a dynamic endeavor necessitating complete evaluation to sustain an agency’s efficiency?
Every step of implemented change has an effect on the process. In addition, unplanned changes to the environment that the implemented change is taking place in can have an effect on the planning process. The strategic management and planning process is a cycle in which each stage of planning and change may require additional analysis, planning, and correction. “Assessing the current position requires measurement, monitoring and evaluation of outputs and outcomes from the previous planning cycle to determine whether policy objectives are being achieved” (“Leadership, strategic thinking and planning drive good government, JAKARTA POST,” 2004, para. 11).

Bevc, C., Barlau, A., & Passanante, N. (2009). Mapping convergence points in the initial emergency response to 9/11. Disasters, 33(4), 786–808.

Leadership, strategic thinking and planning drive good government, JAKARTA POST. (2004, October 12). WorldSources Online. Retrieved February 19, 2015 from http://search.proquest.com.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/docview/340564046?pq-origsite=summon

McKinsey & Company. (n.d.). FDNY McKinsey report - Increasing the FDNY’s preparedness. Fire Department of New York. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from http://www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/mck_report/toc.shtml

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