Interestingly, 12/1/96 was the implementation date of a new law that mandated a standardized emergency management system passed by the state legislature several years before. By reason of that law the State Office of Emergency Services determined to put-in-place a computer system to accelerate the flow of information between governments. The deadline for the completion was January l997.
In addition, the FCC mandated a replacement of the EBS (Emergency Broadcast System). The implementation was 1/1/97 for a new Emergency Alert System. Would it function? How well? No one knew.
When the rains began in late December and then flowed through in waves in January, it was like Mother Nature said: "Okay, lets see if your systems work!"
Did they work? Did they get overwhelmed and have to be discarded? Did they need back up? What happened?
They worked!! The Emergency Alert System stumbled into duty within hours after the New Year started. Yes, there were problems, as would be expected in a newly installed system; but it provided better public service than the old EBS system. Out of the experiences of the '97 floods, new and better ways of using it were being implemented as this article was written.
Continues next week