APPLETON - After a disaster, Emergency Management officials come in and survey the damage. The Director for Outagamie County, Julie Loeffelholz, told FOX 11 until Thursday the process was "low-tech."
"I have no idea how many hours of my life I have spent in the last 12 years doing damage assessment with with pencil and paper and I am frankly very excited about this new damage assessment tool," said Loeffelholz.
The new tool is an "app" from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.
"Work right from the iPad or smart telephone and be able to collect that damage information, including a photograph," explained Loeffelholz.
Steve Fenske with Wisconsin Emergency Management introduced the app to the employees, following the ice storm in the Fox Valley. He told us before this app a worker would have to hand-write their findings, then put them in a database back in the office. Now they enter the data once, and it's sent to the main database.
"As soon as they're done they can hit the button, submit, it'll fill out the paper work, the spread sheet. They can pull up a map and actually see in real time where the damages are," explained Fenske.
The app is in the early stages. So FEMA has asked certain emergency management offices in Wisconsin and Illinois to test it before it goes national.
"Working some bugs out of the application, the software, making it more user-friendly," said Fenske.
Loeffelholz told us the app should make her job easier. More importantly, she said, it will help people affected by disasters by getting information together more quickly and accurately.
"We'll have good, solid figures for requesting presidential disaster declarations. Ultimately, that brings money back into our communities," explained Loeffelholz.
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