Research projects conducted at Jackson State University, the Education Lead of the Coastal Hazards Center include its Engage to Excel (E2E) project.

DRIS is a GIS-based product that supports comprehensive emergency management planning, response, and recovery. Developed following Hurricane Katrina for county-level emergency managers, it is easily scalable to cities, states, or regions, and can be adapted readily for specific applications such as the private sector, universities, medical facilities, etc. Its fundamental design premise is that, regardless of the hazard, all disasters are local and all require similar types of basic data and information. Other capabilities are added to address hazard-or-application-specific requirements. For example, the ability to rapidly estimate time-dependent hurricane surge may be needed for locations near the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Ocean, while backwater flood mapping may be important to an inland county close to a major river system. Similarly, a location near a chemical plant or nuclear facility may need to estimate airborne plumes, while other locations have no such requirement.

DRIS currently is installed at 7 counties and 4 other locations, including the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and a private utility company. These installations were done at no cost as part of the DRIS development process, which has comprised several phases over the last 4 years. Each installation allowed testing of different DRIS elements and interactions with different end users. They also resulted in DRIS being used for actual disaster response, including two tornado events and the May 2011, flood of record on the Mississippi River and its tributaries. DRIS is a tested product with a limited number of emergency management end users who represent a broad spectrum of potential applications.

Benetta Robinson