2004-2005: In collaboration with the MITRE Corporation and building on the work of a previous Design Clinic project, this student team designed an extendable implementation of a secure and reliable web-based information management system for emergency response operations. In emergency situations such as terrorist attacks, floods, fires and earthquakes, relief workers need easy access to local resource information about the nearby fire stations, shelters, and hospitals to provide quick assistance to victims. The team designed the SAFER (Secure Access and Information Framework for Emergency Response) system to provide emergency responders with access to and maintenance of such information.
The team’s design combines a database and a graphical user interface, operable via two modes: desktop and web. The desktop version is accessible to the system administrator, allowing her to modify the contents of the system and upload it to the system site. The web version, accessible to emergency volunteers, provides them with permission to view and search for information. SAFER is based on a generic framework that can be used to retrieve a range of data sources useful for any emergency response organization, with potential future expansion to portable wireless devices. The prototype system was implemented for the Hampshire County (MA) chapter of the American Red Cross.