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FEMA on the Internet - 1997 Year in Review

WASHINGTON December 23, 1997 - As the Internet's popularity and usage has grown this year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its Web site kept pace with increasing user demand. New features, new information and more users every month have been the hallmarks of 1997.

"We are learning to take more and more advantage of the quick delivery of information that the Internet can provide," said FEMA Director James Lee Witt. "As the Emergency Lane for this nation's information superhighway, we are committed to remaining a dynamic and comprehensive public Internet source of information on FEMA's efforts to prepare for, respond to and mitigate against all types of disasters."

This year included many milestones and significant accomplishments:

  • Web site usage grew from an average of 300,000 hits (file accesses)/month to more than 3 million/month. The site's files were accessed more than 21 million times this year.
  • While industry experts estimate the average Web site contains around 300 screens of information, this year FEMA topped 7,000 screens and more are added daily.
  • FEMA's Virtual Library has grown to 744 entries of brochures, reports and manuals in the PDF format and 113 shorter documents in HTML format.
  • GEMS, the site's searchable database of emergency management-related Web sites, now has more than 500 entries.
  • Every new FEMA initiative was accompanied by a corresponding addition to the Web site. This included, the National Arson Prevention Initiative, the El Nio Loss Reduction Center, and Project Impact - Building Disaster-Resistant Communities.
  • Daily and sometimes hourly updates on the site's What's New page began this year. Information is gathered from a variety of government sources to provide visitors the latest information on potential disasters and ongoing recovery efforts.
  • FEMA for Kids was launched in October and quickly became one of the site's most popular sections with more than 300,000 hits in the first month.
  • The FEMA Radio Network (FRN) began providing daily RealAudio files and posted a complete, online searchable database of more than 400 soundbites, interviews and public service announcements.
  • FEMA's El Nio Community Preparedness Summit in Southern California saw FRN's first successful streaming of live audio via the Web site. More than 2,300 Internet users logged on and listened to Vice President Gore and others address this important issue.
The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), a part of FEMA, continues to bring new information and innovative features to the World Wide Web. Their 1997 online additions to the Web site include:
  • Learning Resource Center online card catalog now provides bibliographic access to the 50,000+ item collection housed at the National Emergency Training Center.
  • USFA Publications Catalog allows user to browse the over 200+ item catalog and place their order with the USFA Publications Center online. All new publications are now also provided in electronic format, including these recently released items: Fire in the United States, Firefighter Fatalities in the United States, and the Fire Safety Education Resource Guide.
  • The USFA Kids Page is an interactive fire-safety page just for kids containing quizzes, games and information on fire prevention.
  • The National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) provides more than 600 annual state and metro fire online profiles. Casualty and property loss information for each of the states and metropolitan areas that report NFIRS data is readily available. Profiles are provided back to 1985.

Updated: December 24, 1997