The Home Damage Assessment Program, conceived and implemented by Broward County Emergency Management Division and designed and developed by Broward County Enterprise Technology Services, was named a 2011 Computerworld Honors Laureate in the Innovation category.
The IDG Computerworld Honors Program is the longest running global program honoring individuals and organizations that use information technology to promote social, economic and educational change. The Innovation category award recognizes the design and development of new technologies and/or the application of existing technologies in new and unique ways to advance overall human health, security or well-being.
“The Home Damage Assessment Program capitalizes on the explosive growth in mobile media and utilizes the latest technology to engage residents in recovery efforts following an emergency,” Chuck Lanza, director of Broward County Emergency Management, said in a statement announcing the award.
“The mobile application was the result of a highly successful collaboration with our information technology team and increases the number of ways residents can contribute in a meaningful way to the county's disaster response,” Lanza said.
Residents who access the program are able to view a series of four photos showing various levels of home damage, select the photo that most closely resembles their level of damage and click “Submit.” When accessed from a mobile device, such as cell phone, the caller's location is automatically geo-coded to a map. When reported from a computer, or through the county's Call Center, the resident provides address information, which is also mapped.
Resident reports provide a critical early indication of where major damage has occurred and enable first responders to be better able to quickly identify areas of devastation following a disaster, Emergency Management said.
“In the aftermath of a serious emergency event, cellular phones and mobile devices may be the best or only means of communication,” said John Bruno, director of Broward County Enterprise Technology Services whose division submitted the project for award consideration.
“The mobile application feature of the program enables more residents to communicate important information that will help first responders save lives and protect property,” Bruno said.
Residents provide a valuable community service by participating in the program, Emergency Management said.
For more information, visit www.broward.org/hurricane and click HOME DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PROGRAM. Residents may also follow Broward County in an emergency on Twitter @ ReadyBroward or subscribe to receive Hurricane Updates via email.