Emergency Management Digital Distinction Awards

Emergency Management Digital Distinction Awards

First Responder Programs Honored for Technology Performance

May 4, 2010

Outstanding digital applications that enable first responders to deliver emergency services more effectively were honored this week for their achievement.  Recipients of the inaugural Emergency Management Digital Distinction Awards were announced by e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government and Emergency Management magazine, producers of the awards.

All emergency management government agencies, including fire, public safety, law enforcement, and homeland security, were invited to submit information technology projects which resulted in measurable improvements in the lives of the people and businesses they serve. 

Cathilea RobinettCathilea Robinett, executive vice president for the Center for Digital Government, said,
“We congratulate the winners of the Emergency Management Digital Distinction awards.  With budgets tighter than ever, they are outstanding examples of projects and applications which facilitate first responders and ultimately enhance their mission of keeping citizens safe.”

Marty Pastula"Through their project execution, diligence and determination to serve citizens, these projects embody excellence in the emergency management public sector,” said Marty Pastula, vice-president for the Emergency Management Media Group. “Congratulations to all recipients.”

The Center and Emergency Management thank Microsoft for underwriting the contest and for its support of the first responder community worldwide.

Congratulations to the winners: 


Most Innovative Use of Technology

Virginia Interoperability Picture for Emergency Response (VIPER), Va. Department of Emergency Management

The Virginia Interoperability Picture for Emergency Response (VIPER) is a Web-based GIS-based enterprise platform that integrates numerous information systems and about 250 data feeds. This allows emergency commanders, first responders, police, fire and government officials from local, state and federal agencies to tap into a single information resource to gain an accurate, visible picture of events in real time. The VIPER data can be dynamically updated from the field or command center, and successfully used to deploy the right personnel and equipment, as demonstrated by its use during Tropical Storm Hanna, the 2008 presidential election and recently during the “snowmaggedon” in Virginia this past February.


Most Efficient Use of Technology

Emergency Operations Center in a Box, Northern Virginia Community College

The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in a Box is a carefully designed kit packed and ready to transport – in personal vehicles if necessary – that allows the college to rapidly set up an EOC anyplace that has electricity. It’s comprised of computers, switches, air cards, phones, support equipment and software. The flexible, standardized approach of including the equipment in the annual refresh rotation system and twice-annual testing allowed a one-time only purchase of the full equipment, and avoided the extra cost of each of the six campuses and five centers having to dedicate and furnish their own EOCs.


Most Efficient Use of Technology

Forsyth County, Ga., Mobile GIS Emergency Response System

The versatile Geographic Information System (GIS) used in the Forsyth County EOC is also deployed in the field to provide direct support to first responders– for local, regional or state-level emergencies and disasters. The mobile GIS emergency response system contains pre-built models, map templates and Web applications that have been developed to address hazardous materials spills and plumes, tornado tracking, wildfires, flash flooding, and Homeland Security events. Background processes allow the GIS Mobile Emergency Response System to be a self-contained unit ready to be deployed at a moment's notice, while also allowing the system to act as an offsite disaster recovery solution.


Best Collaboration and Information Sharing

King County, Wash., Regional Collaboration Site

The King County Office of Emergency Management’s Regional Collaboration Site provides a secure repository for more than 1,000 users, including the county’s 39 cities, over 130 special purpose districts, and governments and entities throughout the greater Puget Sound region. The collaboration site, using new collaborative technology, allows vital data to be updated by respective jurisdictions and current data shared with all users; including contact information, training and exercise events and data, public education materials, public information templates and protocols, special event coordination, fire and law enforcement coordination, and regional grant management.


Best Collaboration and Information Sharing

Fusion Center Empowers Utah’s Crime Stoppers, Utah Department of Public Safety, Statewide Information & Analysis Center

The Utah Statewide Information & Analysis Center (SIAC), managed by the Utah Department of Public Safety, is a public safety partnership collaboration with all of the state’s law enforcement and public safety agencies to collect, analyze and disseminate intelligence appropriately for enhanced protection of Utah’s citizens, communities and critical infrastructure. As the state’s intelligence fusion (terrorism and response) center, SIAC replaced a legacy system that lacked effective data management practices and included manual, duplicative efforts. SIAC implemented a new set of technologies which utilized existing assets, integrated domain-specific applications, and improved business processes for information collection and management, and analysis and information sharing with Utah’s 29 county Sheriff’s Offices, 180 law enforcement agencies, and more than 26 specialized task forces.


Best Process Improvement

Integrated Public Warning System, Philadelphia, Pa., Office of Emergency Management

Previously Philadelphia did not have a system to provide non-emergency notifications to the public. Now, the Integrated Public Warning System not only provides for notifications such as crime alerts, traffic alerts and health alerts, but also provides its 10,000 subscribers with emergency notifications via text and e-mail across multiple platforms – including social media networking sites such as Twitter, My Space and Facebook – as well as an electronic signage system installed on newsstands throughout the central business district. Funded through Homeland Security grants, the system allows anyone with access to the Internet and a valid e-mail address and/or text-enabled cellular telephone to subscribe.


Best Process Improvement

New York Crime Analysis Centers Champion Data Sharing, N. Y. State Division of Criminal Justice Services

The New York Crime Analysis Centers– a state and local government collaborative project– conducts in-depth analysis of all information related to local crime in a particular county using newly-connected and shared data, which allows better-informed, vital decisions about strategic planning, tactical deployment and crime investigation. The 87 crime analysts state-wide can now determine connections and plot relationships among people, events, places, gangs, methods of operation and objects (cars, license plates, addresses) from dozens of sources. New electronic connections and data-sharing agencies include police departments, District Attorney Offices, Probation Departments and jail databases. The project delivers data-gathering time savings of over 300 percent.


Most Cost Effective

Computer Aided Dispatch/Records Management System (CAD/RMS) Application, North Castle, N.Y., Police Department

In need of instant access to information and tools for their mission-critical activities, North Castle Police Department implemented a comprehensive service management integrated application that provides a single point of entry for all police systems – including sending and receiving (shared from New York to Florida) any report, fingerprinting, electronic ticketing and auto accident, warning and billing for false alarms, images, and streaming video – and operates all aspects in real time  from either a desktop or mobile environment. The eliminated data entry, automatic validations and mapping, and removal of redundancies provide not only tremendous savings, but also allow personnel to document valuable data faster and with better accuracy – ensuring life-saving situations are acted on without delay.


Who Conducts the Awards?


Center for Digital Government
The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government.

Emergency Management
Emergency Management is the first “all-hazards” leadership publication to address the entire intergovernmental community of stakeholders with timely editorial insight and expertise to support their mission-critical roles in joint operations and planning. www.emergencymgmt.com

The Center and Emergency Management are divisions of e.Republic, the nation’s leading publishing, research, event and new media company focused on the state and local government and education markets.

For more information please contact Janet Grenslitt, Surveys and Awards Director, Center for Digital Government; jgrenslitt@centerdigitalgov.com, 916-932-1300.

Awards Sponsor


Microsoft helps Public Safety and National Security customers Defend, Prepare, Prevent, and Respond to improve international, national and local citizen safety and security by helping ensure effective information sharing and analysis, decision-making and operational execution. We strive to build long-term collaborative relationships and innovative Government engagement programs to help protect citizens and societies. Microsoft partners with an eco-system of leading technology organizations with beneficial solutions, services, and expertise, and we continually invest in the innovation of software for Microsoft Partners and Government Agencies supporting crisis and disaster management, homeland and internal security, law enforcement and criminal justice.