ExCM has proven to be a tool we are going to continue to expand on…we’re finding more and more uses for it. With additional training from our Information Services, I would be able to actualize this product and use it in a lot of ways we can’t begin to think of at this time.
Sarpy County, Nebraska, has a population of more than 150,000, making it the state’s third-largest county. Omaha borders it on the north, the Platte River borders it on the south and west, and the Missouri River runs along the eastern portion of the county.
In June 2011, Sarpy County and the surrounding areas experienced historic flooding of the Missouri River, resulting in immediate evacuations of about 50 Sarpy County residents with the potential for several hundred more.
Sarpy County Emergency Management needed to plan for the worst-case scenario. It also needed a way to quickly share information with entities helping manage the emergency—such as law enforcement, fire, emergency management, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and Offutt Air Force base—as well as give them a mechanism for updating their areas of responsibility in the Incident Action Plan.
Prior to using Extranet Collaboration Manager (ExCM) for SharePoint Server and SharePoint Foundation, Sarpy County Emergency Management utilized its own file-serving system, sharing documents by e-mail or by printing hard copies. The old system created challenges when it came to balancing the need to maintain confidentiality with granting site access to people who only had to work on one particular aspect of the plan.
Sarpy County had used ExCM for a project, but now it would play an even greater role in collaborative efforts during the emergency, especially when it came to sharing time-sensitive information with other agencies and granting site-access permission to individuals who had responsibility for updating the Incident Action Plan.
“Anything that was relevant to the incident, we shared on the site,” said Sarpy County Emergency Manager Lynn Marshall.
One of the challenges with its old system was making the latest information available ahead of time for briefings. “This tool allowed us to do that,” Marshall says. “Others could log on, open up the current Incident Action Plan…get up to speed, and print the pieces they wanted to have in front of them for the briefing.”
ExCM empowered Marshall to work directly with people who had ownership in the Incident Action Plan without a time lag and without creating extra work for the county’s Information Systems team.
“ExCM has proven to be a tool we are going to continue to expand on…we’re finding more and more uses for it. With additional training from our Information Services, I would be able to actualize this product and use it in a lot of ways we can’t begin to think of at this time,” Marshall says.
“We’ve just touched on the tip of what I think it can do for us.”