Emergency Web Site Design

By Tom Worthington FACS

23 January 2003


The World Wide Web provides a useful way to provide information to the general public and organization staff. However, in an emergency, web sites can be overloaded by demand. Ideally web sites should be designed in advance to cope with emergency situations and techniques such as accessible design, can help with everyday web use. However, some simple techniques can be used to quickly modify existing sites to work better when the need arises. These notes were prepared in response to the ACT bush fire emergency of January 2003 and recommendations made for the Sentinel Fire Mapping System, but should have general applicability.

Limitations of the Web

Before modifying or creating a web site for emergency use, keep in mind the limitations of the web. To view a web site the user requires a working computer, with electrical power and an Internet connection. Also the user needs to know that there is useful information on the web, where and when to find it. Other information services, such as telephone, e-mail, facsimile and radio may be more effective for immediate communication. However, you can provide a web address, for example in a radio broadcast or a mail message to a predefined list, to provide more detailed information.



See also:

Tom Worthington © 2003