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Enabling Comprehensive Situational Awareness

Esri Press:; 204 pages; $18.95

This emergency management reference book focuses on the value of transforming a Geographic Information System (GIS) into a tool that will allow event managers to better coordinate response efforts. The authors look at the subject from geographic research, public safety, and homeland security perspectives to yield a well written, researched, and tested guide to using this specific tool.

The text takes the standard phases of emergency management—mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery—and illustrates how a GIS system can aid in each specific phase. Its state-of-the-art approach to incident command and coordination is technical and covers a wide variety of software programs and Web sites that can be integrated and used to enhance GIS applications.

On the negative side, the book has a deceptive title. In the security arena, “situational awareness” commonly refers to the mindset of staying cognizant of one’s surroundings and prepared for any potential criminal activity. Readers may assume that this book relates to personal safety or other crime prevention disciplines.

Emergency management continues to be an integral part of the security practitioner’s job description; however, unless one’s focus is on improving emergency and disaster response capabilities by capitalizing on modern technologies, a text this specific is better geared for professional emergency managers.

Reviewer : Michael D’Angelo, CPP, is security manager for Baptist Health South Florida. He is a retired police captain from the South Miami, Florida, Police Department where he served for 20 years. He serves on the ASIS Healthcare Security Council.