Texas Emergency Management Briefs, Tips and Links
VIEW ARCHIVED ISSUES OF TEXAS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ONLINE
Missed an issue of Texas Emergency Management Online? You’re in luck. You can view each past issue in the online archives. And, if you have a story idea, email it to TDEM.WEB@dps.texas.gov.
Use of Tablets by Emergency Managers
Tablet computers are single-panel touchscreen computers that are smaller than a laptop but larger than a phone. Apple’s iPad made tablets popular with the public, and now users can choose from several consumer options: iPads, BlackBerry devices, Windows tablets or those that run Google’s Android operating system. Smaller tablets, such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Apple’s iPad Mini, also are available. And first responders whose work environment would be too hard on a consumer tablet can consider rugged tablets that are more durable.
Tablets are increasingly being adopted by the emergency management community for everything from note taking to sending warnings from the field. Tablets’ mobility and connectivity are big advantages. Emergency managers’ duties extend beyond business hours at times. Most won’t be able necessarily anticipate when they will need access to resources. Because the tablet is easier to carry, they tend to be used more often than a laptop. Tablets also offer cellular data capabilities that laptops generally don’t have.
But tablets can have drawbacks, including security concerns and technical limitations. And many in the emergency management community are still determining the best way to use them.
There are many options for using tablets to make emergency management work more efficient:
Geoffrey Bartlett , director of emergency management at Tufts University in Boston explains more in depth to Emergency Management Magazine more practical uses in the field.
“When Bartlett gets a warning about a severe weather watch, he opens a weather app to check the radar. He also uses a free GIS app that helps to measure distances. When a hazardous chemical spill occurred near campus, Bartlett pulled up weather information on his tablet to find out the wind direction. He looked up the isolation distances for the chemical that had spilled and used a GIS app to measure how far the chemical was from the nearest campus building.
“It was unprecedented to have all of that information and tools available at your fingertips, using one single tool,” Bartlett said.
Tablets’ Mobility, Connectivity lead to Adoption by Emergency Managers, Margaret Steen, March 21, 2013 - Emergency Management Magazine