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Bringing order to chaos: How RFID can deliver business intelligence to hurricane evacuations and enhance public safety in the process

David C. Wyld, DBA


In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and subsequent major hurricanes, evacuation planning and execution have taken-on a heightened level of interest from both public officials and the general public. In this article, the authors examine how radio frequency identification (RFID) can be utilized to not just facilitate mass evacuations due to hurricanes, but yield far-better, real-time information to public officials, emergency managers, and concerned family members as well. The authors begin with an overview of RFID technology. Then, the authors explore how two leading areas—the State of Texas and the City of New Orleans—have worked with private sector partners to develop, test, and actually utilize RFID-based tracking systems to be used ondemand for hurricane evacuation events. The authors then analyze the benefits of such systems for use in hurricanes and other potential mass evacuations. The authors pinpoint the public safety, operational, and business intelligence advantages of employing this new identification technology in these crisis situations.


radio frequency identification; evacuation; emergency preparedness; information technology; business intelligence; planning

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