January 28, 1998 Special Presentation
by Michele Hoopes, DSIC
William Black, EMT

Automated Resource Information System (ARiS)
National Emergency Operations Network (NEON)


Transcript (Unedited text file)
Transcript (Microsoft Word file, edited for readability)
Slides: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Technology...does it really help...?
About Michele Hoopes
About Bill Black
ARIS Page (including demo)
NEON, Oregon (User ID = guest, password = password)


EIIP Tech Arena Online Presentation
Wednesday - January 28, 1998 - 12:00 Noon (EST)

Internet-Based Emergency Management/Disaster Response Applications
Automated Resource Information System (ARiS)
National Emergency Operations Network (NEON)

Michele Hoopes
Digital Systems International Corporation (DSIC)


William Black
Emergency Management Technology (EMT)

EIIP Tech Arena Moderator - Amy Sebring

This was the first presentation and technology demonstration in the Tech Arena. Michelle Hoopes, DSIC, and Bill Black, EMT, met the challenges of the occasion in a most professional manner. Both presenters rehearsed for their session until they felt confident of their respective abilities. The flow of the dialogue, information conveyed, and ready responses to the audience were evidences of both speakers' preparedness levels. The slides and visuals submitted ahead of time also added to the overall impact of the discussion of the ARiS and NEON systems as they were used to illustrate the virtues of both systems. The dialogue was engaging and the audience engaged as demonstrated by their questions, comments, and time spent in the Virtual Forum. The interaction for the first hour of the Tech Arena dialogue was carried over to the second hour as one continuous discussion. Twenty five people were present for the session with fifteen staying for discussion and questions of our special guests during the Brown Bag session immediately following.

Lessons Learned:
Apparently, there were fewer login problems in this session. One or two follow up discussions resulted in unsuccessful participants finding their facility firewalls were the problem. They are finding ways around them. Changes were made to the chat software so fewer messages about the comings and goings of people in the Virtual Forum were shown on the screen. This is an excellent improvement for the Forum.

The primary point emphasized once again by this successful Tech Arena presentation is there is no substitute for practice and detail given to the presentation on the part of the presenter(s). The Virtual Forum format takes time and forethought to ensure a smooth, professional delivery.

Technology . . .
does it really help us to be more productive or just plain frustrated?
By Michele Hoopes, FFCA Technology Program Manager

"Finally! Somebody's done what we wanted."- Randy Sheppard, Chief of Rescue, Palm Beach County Fire & Rescue

Have you noticed that every time you turn around there is a new computer program that is being offered to you? That's because we are in the technology age where everything is being done with computers - supposedly making life easier and our jobs more productive. It does make things easier to track and communicate, but with that you have a new challenge. The challenge of having so much information available at your fingertips that you have to keep on top of it at all times.

What I'm alluding to is the Internet. Everyone's on it - even your kids. In fact, they probably can teach you a few things. The reason that I'm bringing this up is that if you don't keep up with the technology movement - you will be left at the station. I hope you are already on the train! Whether we like it or not, it's not going to go away and the technology is just going to get better and better. I'm not saying all of this to scare you; instead I'm trying to introduce to you those things that can help.

Most of you use the Internet to email friends and colleagues and to "browse" the Net to get information. The FFCA has found a way to use the Internet to make your professional life easier and to track information throughout the state. How? The Automated Resource Information System (ARiS) was developed with a partnership with Digital Systems International Corporation (DSIC). . . and it runs completely on the Internet. Many of you already know this system; it was previously called the Automated Reimbursement System (ARS). Due to the many enhancements made to the system and the diverse capabilities, it was decided that the name should be changed to reflect the true nature of the system.

ARiS tracks resources (equipment and personnel) at a Fire Department level, regional level and a state level. ARiS is also the only automated way to track claims and reimbursements. These claims can be entered, tracked and approved or disapproved, all "online" from the Fire Department (responder) to the County (sub-grantee) up to the State DEM. No more filling out paperwork, making copies and sending "up the line." Instead, you "point & click" on resource information and the claim is filled out. With this technology, questions and problems with claims can be ironed out almost immediately instead of waiting weeks or even months for the claim to come back due to problems. What's more is that the rates that are in the system have been approved and standardized by DEM and FEMA for Florida. There is no more guessing about what rate to charge for your resources.

Imagine being able to provide estimates for mutual aid that are meaningful as well as accurate. All of the information is there that you need to do this with ARiS.

ARiS makes the whole process simple and you have a history of information right at your fingertips. What's even better is that there is no hardware or software to purchase. You need a PC (which most of you already have) and you need access to the Internet (which if you don't, you should get).

"The new Internet technology in ARiS will aid in keeping the fire service and emergency management on the cutting edge of technology, rather than on the sidelines as a passive observer. Technology that will lead us into the 21st century...." - Dave Halstead, Assistant Chief, Altamonte Springs Fire Department

"After personally being involved in the manual system for FEMA reimbursements, this newly developed automated system will not only greatly enhance the process of tracking resources, but will also speed up the recovery of the constituents tax dollars." - Mark Souders, Fire Chief, Bradenton Fire Department

Another application that is available is the National Emergency Operations Network (NEON). NEON is a management tool that runs on the Internet. By having access to NEON, you can communicate with a dispersed group of people through discussion forums and electronic mail and distribute documents and policies in seconds, without having to send a copy to each person. With this system, you "place" the document in NEON and those that have access to that location, will be notified that there is a new document waiting. It eliminates having to copy and mail or Fax multiple documents to a group of people. The administrative burden is lessened and the money that can be saved is phenomenal. Ask the FFCA . . . their Board of Directors uses it.

Why is FFCA so involved in a project like this? FFCA is committed to providing its members with the latest products and services that will make their jobs safer, easier, and at the same time, enhance the image of the fire service. Technology can make the fire service more cost effective . . . and we all know that is important to the communities that we serve.

For more information about ARiS or NEON, contact Michele Hoopes at 813-908-7327 or Bill Black at 703-866-4130.

* * * *

Digital Systems International Corporation

Michele has 13 years experience in the Information Technology arena. She has been on IT
teams and have managed multi-million dollar projects for the Department of the Navy, Army Material Command and Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA).

On the civilian side, she has been responsible for full life cycle development & implementation of an Automated Time and Attendance system for USAirways. She also was the Project Manager responsible for all telecommunications (data, voice, radio, cabling, applications) at the new Washington National Airport for USAirways that opened in 1997.

She returned to Digital Systems International Corporation in June 1997 to work on
the ARiS and NEON projects and moved to Florida. Since then, she has been working with the Emergency Management industry in developing Internet applications.

B.S. in Management Information Systems and Decision Sciences from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.

Michele Hoopes
[email protected]

* * * *

Emergency Management Technology

Bill Black is the President of Emergency Management Technologies (EMT). EMTdeveloped the concept for a system to enhance state, local and municipality government assistance for comprehensive and coordinated responses to catastrophic events which will serve to automate disaster management strategies, logistics planning and reimbursement systems. The Automated
Resources information System (ARiS) will automate the process for preplanning deployments, track inventories, and post deployment, will standardize and hasten the reimbursement process for mutual aid assistance.

William Black
[email protected]

* * * *

Technology Arena Live Chat Page