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Abstract

This paper systematically develops a set of general and supporting design principles and specifications for a “Dynamic Emergency Response Management Information System” (DERMIS) by identifying design premises resulting from the use of the “Emergency Management Information System and Reference Index” (EMISARI) and design concepts resulting from a comprehensive literature review. Implicit in crises of varying scopes and proportions are communication and information needs that can be addressed by today’s information and communication technologies. However, what is required is organizing the premises and concepts that can be mapped into a set of generic design principles in turn providing a framework for the sensible development of flexible and dynamic Emergency Response Information Systems. A framework is presented for the system design and development that addresses the communication and information needs of first responders as well as the decision making needs of command and control personnel. The framework also incorporates thinking about the value of insights and information from communities of geographically dispersed experts and suggests how that expertise can be brought to bear on crisis decision making. Historic experience is used to suggest nine design premises. These premises are complemented by a series of five design concepts based upon the review of pertinent and applicable research. The result is a set of eight general design principles and three supporting design considerations that are recommended to be woven into the detailed specifications of a DERMIS. The resulting DERMIS design model graphically indicates the heuristic taken by this paper and suggests that the result will be an emergency response system flexible, robust, and dynamic enough to support the communication and information needs of emergency and crisis personnel on all levels. In addition it permits the development of dynamic emergency response information systems with tailored flexibility to support and be integrated across different sizes and types of organizations. This paper provides guidelines for system analysts and designers, system engineers, first responders, communities of experts, emergency command and control personnel, and MIS/IT researchers.

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