News & Notes

SAFECOM Encourages Comments on the Proposed National Emergency Communications Plan Updates

SAFECOM, in conjunction with its member associations, the Emergency Communications Preparedness Committee, and many additional members of public safety, has worked for over the past year with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to update the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP). The NECP organizes our nation’s efforts to sustain and improve emergency communications capabilities. It is a critical planning document for public safety agencies and all those involved in the safety and security of our communities. Now the broader community has the opportunity to review and provide feedback on the NECP updates.

Key proposed updates to the NECP address the range of changes public safety stakeholders face including rapid technological advancements, increasingly complex incidents, and constrained resources. For example, the update offers a new cybersecurity goal to help improve public safety’s cyber security posture. A staggering 81% of local agencies that responded to the SAFECOM Nationwide Survey reported they had insufficient or no funding for cybersecurity efforts yet nearly 40% reported cyber disruptions impacting their emergency communications.

Additionally, the NECP offers an updated graphic and explanation of the emergency communications ecosystem. This key concept has served the community well as it articulates the breadth and inclusiveness the people and functions involved in emergency communications. The draft also revises content on important advancements made in data interoperability, FirstNet adoption, personnel impacts and much more since the last update in 2014.

You can access the draft updated NECP on the DHS webpage. Please review the document and submit your feedback via the comment form to by March 22, 2019.

IAFC and NAPSG Deliver Training to Emergency Managers in Kuwait

On February 20, 2019, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) partnered with NAPSG Foundation to develop and deliver a training workshop on Continuity of Operations through Intelligence & Resilience at the Kuwait International Health, Safety, Security, and Environment Conference in Kuwait City.

The training was delivered as a certificate-earning all day workshop for a group of 20 leading Emergency Managers and Planners from the petroleum industry, Kuwait government ministries, and staff from the Secretariat General of the Gulf Cooperation Council. This training focused on building knowledge, skills, and the overall capacity of Emergency Managers and Planners responsible for protecting petroleum-related critical infrastructure, as well as protecting the life and safety of the communities surrounding key infrastructure in the region. The graphic below illustrates the how the training workshop was organized to effectively build knowledge and skills in all key areas of preparedness to support business continuity in the event of a major incident. NAPSG Foundation and IAFC provided live demonstrations of existing GIS-based tools and resources relevant to each  training module, thereby illustrating how preparedness and planning for continuity of operations can be enhanced through rich data analysis and decision support tools.

The training content was developed and delivered to address the objectives outlined below:

  • Discuss and provide case studies on Consequence Management best practices
  • How to develop comprehensive, effective and reliable COOP playbooks
  • An overview of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) used to protect organizations from unexpected disasters and business disruptions
  • Overview of the IAFC National Mutual Aid System and who this system may be deployed internationally
  • Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and technology as intelligence applications to support planning and operations

Provided below are the materials developed and delivered for this training workshop.

NAPSG Foundation was honored to work with the IAFC in support of building a culture of preparedness in Kuwait and the Gulf Coast Region, and is gracious for the invitation of the KIHSSE Steering Committee to support this important training opportunity.



Contribute Feedback on Emergency Management Use of GIS

NAPSG Members, for those of you in the Emergency Management Community, we would like to know how your agency is using GIS for preparedness and operations. Please read below to know how you can contribute your expertise!

As part of the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) Advanced Academy, Chris Corwin (GIS Analyst/Disaster Services Coordinator for Blaine County in Idaho) will be writing a short paper based on the results of a survey he has created on the current status of the utilization of GIS in Emergency Management.

In order to better explore this topic, Chris needs your feedback! He has created a short survey that will identify who uses GIS, how often they use it, and why some Emergency Managers do not currently use GIS. Using the results of the survey, Chris will summarize the findings in his paper and offer ways that we can better encourage GIS usage into all emergency management activities.

Share your expertise! The survey will be available until March 15th – it will take less than 5 minutes to complete. To contribute feedback and inform national priorities on how GIS is being used by emergency management, please complete this short survey –


ArcNews: Weathering Hurricane Florence

January 22, 2019

In the 2019 Winter Edition, ArcNews posted an article describing how organizations are “employing Web GIS before, during, and after disaster” using Hurricane Florence as a case study. One example provided in the article Weathering Hurricane Florence is the 2018 Hurricanes Crowdsource Story Map, which was hosted by NAPSG Foundation and supported by volunteers from the GISCorps, NAPSG SAR Working Group, NZGIS4EM, and CEDR Digital. Crowdsourced photos were added to a live map to provide early situational awareness before Hurricane Florence even made landfall. Paul Doherty (NAPSG Foundation Programs Manager) and Peter O’Rourke (NAPSG Foundation Executive Director) also provide their perspectives on the advancing use of geospatial tools during disaster.

Additionally, the article highlights Humanity Road for their assistance to the US Coast Guard, and the GIS Teams from City of New Bern, NC, and South Carolina Emergency Management. These examples from Hurricane Florence provide insight beyond just geospatial technology used in response; they illustrate the deeper need for a dedicated community of GIS Specialists, emergency managers, and first responders to be prepared for the complexity of tomorrow’s disasters.

See entire article – Weathering Hurricane Florence

Participate in the HIFLD & GeoPlatform Workshop

Please join us for this year’s combined — Annual HIFLD Feedback Session & GeoPlatform Workshop!

The 2-day meeting will be a collaborative event focused on “Driving Progress through Partnerships.” The interactive meeting will also provide opportunities for the community to share feedback and build partnerships through collaboration and networking.

  • When:  Thursday, November 1st & Friday, November 2nd
  • Where:  USGS National Center: 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston VA, 20192

Portions of the event will be provided by webinar, but we encourage you to join us in person if possible. Please see the Announcement and draft Agenda for further details.

For more event details and registration, click here.

Open GIS Position at FEMA

The Emergency Management Specialist (Geospatial) position is now available in Washington, DC. The position will remain open October 11th through October 18th.

Job Summary:

When disaster strikes, America looks to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Join our team and use your talent to support Americans in their times of greatest need. FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages Federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. We foster innovation, reward performance and creativity, and provide challenges on a routine basis with a well-skilled, knowledgeable, high performance workforce. Please visit

Typical Assignments include:

  • Performs activities in operational areas such as analysis and production; modeling; data management; innovation, tools development, coordination and dissemination; advocacy; remote sensing; and technology awareness.
  • Provides key project assistance in the development of program standards, doctrine, training, exercises, FEMA Qualification System (FQS) requirements, and program awareness throughout the agency.
  • Compiles analytical summaries and recommendations. Formulates reports and correspondence. Briefs customers on geospatial capabilities and activities.
  • Assignments frequently require detailed coordination efforts with a variety of other FEMA HQ, Regional, and field organizations.
  • Determines and manages customer expectations for products. Coordinates with appropriate geospatial stakeholders to prevent duplication of effort and to promote information sharing. Briefs customers on geospatial capabilities and activities.

Please click the links below for more details: DE MP

Announcement: Nominations Open for 2018 Award for Excellence in Public Safety GIS

NAPSG Foundation is pleased to announce that nominations are open for the 2018 Award for Excellence in Public Safety GIS.  Please click on the link below to nominate a member of the public safety community who should be recognized for leadership and achievements in significantly advancing the use of GIS for the public safety and homeland security community.

Awards will be presented at the 2018 National Geospatial Preparedness Summit, in Boulder, CO.

Nomination Application

2018 Hurricane GIS & Situational Awareness Resources

October 10, 2018
Last Updated: 11:50 EST

Florida Hurricane GIS Resources

Florida Division of Emergency Management makes several key resources available to support disaster readiness and response efforts.

Hurricane Forecasts and Advisories

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center – For the most authoritative source for Hurricane Advisories visit the NHC website at


Hurricane Situational Awareness

FEMA’s Hurricane Incident Journal – Provides relevant spacial decision-making support and is available to the general public at

NAPSG has a light-weight and publicly accessible situational awareness viewer for the community to access basic information on incidents and forecasts. Visit:

2018 Hurricane Crowdsourced Photo App

Use this app and map to get a picture of 2018 hurricane damage at the ground level.
How you can help? Sleuth the web for photos from social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that indicate flood impact in areas affected by 2018 hurricanes and have a location identified (street address, neighborhood, town, etc.) and add them to the map.

Search & Rescue Decision Support and Analysis Tools

  • What Is It? NAPSG Foundation is partnered with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) to make a standardized mobile application and tool set available for first responders to rapidly collection location-based information during a disaster.
  • Who Is It For? First Responders, Incident Command Staff, and EOC Staff – Local and State search and rescue teams that are staging and responding to any type of event can deploy the mobile application. Field data collected through the tool can be visualized in dashboards, viewers, and reports to support increased situational awareness and improved decision making in the ICP and EOC.
  • Get Started Now – To enroll, contact the IAFC using the points of contact below:
    Jeff Dulin Tel. 704-619-2714 Email.
    TJ Lyon Tel. 407-832-3375 Email.
  • Learn More – Check out an overview of the tool at

Preliminary Damage Assessment Templates

FEMA has released two standardized template forms that match the information required by FEMA to evaluate requests for the Public Assistance (PA) and Individual Assistance (IA) FEMA Recovery Programs.

For more information on the FEMA PDA Templates and technical guidance to support implementation, visit:

Esri Disaster Response Program Resources for Florence

This page contains curated maps and apps that support response and recovery for Hurricane Florence.

Open Data on National Infrastructure

Access nearly 400 geospatial data layers for our nation’s key infrastructure through the HIFLD Open website hosted by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in collaboration with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). Publicly accessible infrastructure data can be used to support basic planning and situational awareness for mutual aid resources for all types of disasters, including hurricanes. Visit HIFLD Open to begin exploring open infrastructure data for the nation:

Identify Local and State Data Sources and Contacts

This web map provides you with links to active state geospatial open data portals and key points of contact to aid in the search and discovery of local and state GIS data.


Core Information Needs ArcGIS Online Group

This is a public ArcGIS Online Group for finding layers, maps, and apps to support your geospatial platform. It catalogs all-hazards core information needs such as base data and live feeds. If you are a GIS Specialist starting your first emergency management web map or have an existing one but are looking for additional layers, join this group so it is easier to search for layers from ‘My Groups’. Access the group:

American Red Cross Tropical Cyclone Maps, Apps, and Graphics

The American Red Cross provides a compilation of various maps, apps, and graphics relevant to tropical cyclones and hurricanes through their platform called RCView.



Local Newspaper Features NAPSG Foundation Resource for Delta Fire

On September 5th, a human-caused fire started near Interstate 5 at Vollmers/Delta exit, north of Lakehead, California (approx. USNG 10T EL 48432 32226). It grew rapidly to the northwest, and California Interagency Incident Management Team 5 assumed command. If you’d like additional official and up-to-date incident details, please see InciWeb.

Shortly after the Delta fire spread to more than 15,000 acres, the Siskiyou Daily News reached out to NAPSG Foundation to find out if there are any resources available that would provide some public situational awareness. We provided links to InciWeb, as well as a web map template that we make available to agencies at no-cost. InciWeb then embedded an example web mapping application using the web map template. In the article, Dr. Cassie Hansen, a local Atmospheric Science and GIS Specialist, explains what is on the map and how it should be used. Please note: This is NOT an evacuation map! For evacuation information, please see InciWeb.

You can find the Siskiyou Daily News article here: 

As mentioned in our previous post, Core Information Needs for the Public, NAPSG Foundation is prepared to assist agencies with Public Information Maps in advance of human-caused and natural disasters. If you are interested in learning more and interacting with other public safety agencies that use geospatial tools, check out the Resources page and sign-up for the upcoming 2018 National Geospatial Preparedness Summit.

Screenshot from the Delta Fire, September 7th at 10:00 AM local time. See Map Link for updates.

Core Information Needs for the Public During Wildfires

Wildfires increasingly impact populated areas across the West (see InciWeb for incident details and a quick map of all current incidents). NAPSG Foundation, in conjunction with the Esri Disaster Response Program, has been supporting public safety agencies with best practices for Public Information Maps. This post is a synopsis provided to help agencies get better prepared before the next disaster strikes. The blog is focused on fire incidents, but the same principals apply to most types of disasters.

Screenshot of the Mariposa County Public Information Map on August 7th, 2018

Screenshot of the Mariposa County Public Information Map on August 7th, 2018

Core Information Needs

In our recent pilot project (Core Information Guidelines*) and through discussions with agencies in South Carolina and Colorado, stakeholders have identified some common core information needs for the public:

  • Evacuation Areas (Orders and Advisory / Pre-evacuation)
  • Open Shelters
  • Road Closures
  • Hazard Areas








These are the key pieces of information that the public needs for situational awareness during the Response phase – and they want to see this information on a map! One of the biggest challenges facing public safety agencies is their ability to share clear, concise information during early phases of disaster response. They often resort to releasing long lists of evacuation areas using colloquial place names and street names, which can be very confusing for the public. Below are some steps other agencies have taken to mitigate this universal problem.


Agencies are most likely to be successful if they prepare their maps in advance during the preparedness phase. Here are some tips that we think can help:

  1. Pre-planning: Pre-plan and design your evacuation areas wherever possible. They should have sensible boundaries that do not cut through properties or isolated roads.
  2. Practice: Use simple tools for changing the status of evacuation areas, and make sure these update in real-time on public facing maps. Practice this process in exercises.
  3. Clarity: Keep maps simple and with clear instructions for the public. Use intuitive symbology without too many colors on the map. Let the public know who created the map and how often it will update (see more tips from Google Search Liason for increasing traffic to your maps).
  4. Focus on the positive: “Where should people go for safety and resources?” Focusing on the hazard (e.g., wildfire perimeter) can be distracting, and hazard information is often out of date.
  5. Performance: Make sure your maps have capacity to scale with a high number of viewers (e.g., host services, web maps, and apps on elastic cloud infrastructure) and that it will work on mobile devices.


Here are some examples of Public Information Maps (PIMs) that are live and dynamic as of August 9th 2018:

We especially like maps that are available 24 hours a day/7 days a week and are embedded in agency websites. These maps are ready to go as soon as a forecast is released or soon after a no-notice event occurs, allowing you to get the right information out to the public quickly. This can also help thwart misinformation on social media and provides news media with a consistent source of information that can help amplify your message.

City of Redding Public Information Map as of August 7th, 2018 AM.

City of Redding Public Information Map as of August 7th, 2018 AM.

Get Started

*Update* – The Esri Public Information Solution now features these core information needs (Evacuation Notices, Shelters, Road Closures) and a tool that allows the public to type in their address and find out if they are in or outside an evacuation zone.

We know that this can be a challenging process involving more than just technology, and it needs support from the wider public safety team. Please let us know if NAPSG Foundation can help you be more prepared and have important conversations with your public information office and other key emergency management staff (Work With Us). If you are a GIS Specialist looking to support your agency with public information maps, see this GIS Technical Implementation Guide* (especially the Response / Outbound Engagement Section).

*This Guideline was produced with support from the US Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T), agreement number HSHQDC-16-C-B0016

See our GIS Technical Guidance document for more information

See our GIS Technical Guidance document for next steps