April 29, 1998 Special Presentation

by Tim Murphy
Operations Coordinator, Response and Recovery Section
South Carolina Emergency Preparedness Division (SCEPD)

Disaster Response Software: A Web Based Solution
Internet Routed Information System (IRIS)


Online Transcript
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Slides: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

About IRIS

About Tim Murphy


EIIP Tech Arena Online Presentation
Wednesday, April 29, 1998 - 12:00 Noon EDT

IRIS: Internet Routed Information System

Special Presentation

Tim Murphy
Operations Coordinator for Response and Recovery Section
South Carolina Emergency Preparedness Division

EIIP Tech Arena Moderator: Amy Sebring

Tim Murphy, Operations Coordinator for Response and Recovery section of South Carolina Emergency Preparedness Division presented information on the Internet Routed Information System (IRIS), a disaster response software product that his State is currently using. Tim explained that the South Carolina Emergency Preparedness Division needed an automated solution for tracking requests for assistance and information regarding disasters. With help from the University of South Carolina, Advanced Solutions Group (ASG), they have a database program that uses Internet technologies (TCP/IP, CGI, HTML, Java, etc.) to share information in near real time on line across an intranet or the Internet. To describe the software and how it is laid out, Tim used slides of the program's HTML pages; Tim was assisted by Amy Sebring, EIIP Technical Projects Coordinator.

The database program, Internet Routed Information System (I.R.I.S.), is a single, shared database accessed via an intranet or the Internet. The program is structured to be a virtual replica of the State response organization while also being simple, open and useful.

Tim did an excellent job of explaining and demonstrating the IRIS program. The IRIS was being used in an exercise the day of Tim's presentation. Although not wanting a hurricane for his State, Tim stated that such a disaster would be the ultimate test of the database software.

Disaster Response Software: A Web Based Solution

Internet Routed Information System

Internet Routed Information System (IRIS) is a joint development project with the Advanced Solutions Group at the University of South Carolina and the South Carolina Emergency Preparedness Division (SCEPD.) The structure of IRIS is a balance of:

  • simple (only 3 types of data records- incident, requests, messages);
  • open (everyone on line in IRIS can view all information regardless of source - local, county, or state);
  • maximum usefulness (i.e. incident, requests, messages lists in table format, hyper text links).

IRIS uses a single Oracle database with interfacing programer files to display as HTML pages in a web browser (i.e. Netscape) across the Internet's World Wide Web or an intra-net. The shared database is located at the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) and is used as an intra-net for all work stations within the SEOC.

The application strategy is for multiple sites in each county to report incidents, pass messages and make requests for resources using the Internet Routed Information System (IRIS). County EPD sites validate incidents, approve/ fill requests or forward unmet needs to State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC.) State EOC sites (i.e. OPS, OTG, and ESFs) view incidents, exchange messages and process/ track requests. All users access the collected information in a table format that can be sorted several ways.

There are two components to the IRIS registration sites (i.e. OPS, O.G., YorkEOC, TAG_EOC, ESF6, ESF10) and USERs (i.e. tmurray, jwilson, or a generic title -- DIT_Rep) Users log into a Site when they access IRIS and their log in "name" of Site_User is a permanent part of all records they create/ annotate/ update and submit to the data base.

There are several levels of IRIS "authority" for sites to control approving of newly created incidents, creating new requests and initially submitting, annotating and updating incidents or requests. These levels are established at the time a site is registered in IRIS. Each level has slightly different authorities to interact with IRIS incidents and requests. "County level" sites can only work on incidents and requests involving their county location (i.e. RICHLAND, YORK, JASPER etc). "State level" sites can work on incidents and requests for any county location. There is no control on who can enter a message --- these are totally open to everyone for all incidents. A "view only" site can look at incidents and requests, but can not update them or create new ones. A "view only" site can, however, enter a message for any incident.

The Main Menu is the starting point for entering the various sections of IRIS using a hyper text link. The incident, request and messaging sections of the database have been divided into an area for REAL information and an another area for TRAINING information. The records themselves are identical in format except for background colors. The main menu also has hyper text links to user's manuals, background information, training exercises and other data base applications under development.

The main/ base record is the Incident. This record must contain a Disaster Name, Incident-AKA name, Incident type and a location. The Disaster Name is the highest level of data. All other data is linked to the Disaster Name. Each Incident record will have a unique name that is the DisasterName_Incident-AKA. Each request or message created from this incident record has a specific DisasterName_Incident-AKA permanently 'stamped' in it's header. All messages or requests are subordinate (child records) to an incident record.

Once you access a IRIS incident, request or message you will see an area at the top of the form called the menu bar (but not labeled). The menu bar is an area containing hyper links to various parts of IRIS. These hyper links include:

  • each of the nine types of requests (1.Equipment-heavy, 2.Equipment-other, 3.Generators, 4.Personnel, 5.Supplies, 6.Food, 7.Water/Ice, 8.Transportation, 9.Other)...
  • a new message...
  • five list choices for viewing existing incidents, requests or messages...
  • mapping of Incident locations with hyper links from icons to incident records is also have able at the list of incidents view
  • links back to the Main Menu, the login and to exit IRIS

An additional feature for the SEOC users is access to an Oracle report writer program which delivers quality data reports for use in situation reports, resource updates and briefings.

IRIS is an ongoing project with upgrades being developed in the Spring of 1998 in anticipation of an active hurricane season in the Carolinas.

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South Carolina Emergency Preparedness Division (SCEPD)

Tim is an Operations Coordinator for the Response and Recovery section of SCEPD. His duties include; preparedness/ response coordination for a seven county area, off site response planning for a commercial nuclear power facility and shift leader for ESF 5 (Information & Planning) within the state emergency opeations center. Tim is a team member of various automation projects for SCEPD such as the agency's web site and the agency disaster response computer software project.

Tim has six years experience in the state emergency management office and, previously, 20 years military experience in plans, operations and training.

Timothy P. Murphy
Operations Coordinator
South Carolina Emergency Preparedness Division
MAILING ADDRESS: 1429 Senate Street, Columbia, SC 29201
TELEPHONE: (803) 734-8020
FAX: (803) 734-8062
E-Mail: [email protected]
Web Site: http://www.state.sc.us/epd

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