RENCI disaster research to be showcased at NC emergency management meeting

The upcoming Spring meeting of the North Carolina Emergency Management Association, the 2007 North Carolina All Hazards Conference, will feature much of the work being done through RENCI’s disaster research efforts.

The conference, which takes place March 4 – 7 at Sunset Beach, brings together state and local emergency managers, first responders, and researchers to discuss strategies for emergency planning, response, mitigation, recovery, and training. For the first time, RENCI will have a display at the conference, which will showcase much of the institute’s work in disaster research. RENCI also will host a reception at on the evening of Tuesday, March 6, where staff members will be on hand to discuss disaster research efforts. Among the RENCI projects to be highlighted at the conference are:

  • The RENCI Experimental Emergency Response Vehicle. This custom-built flatbed truck is equipped with a mobile wireless network activated via a retractable helium balloon and a satellite dish. It can be deployed in emergency situations to enable wireless communications between first responders and to assist in search and rescue operations.  It also serves as a demonstration and teaching tool for emergency response teams.
  • HydroMet modeling software. RENCI’s new storm modeling and forecasting system merges atmospheric and hydrology data with coastal storm surge data. HydroMet models will have nine times the resolution of National Weather Service forecasts, making it possible to zero in on storm effects in a 4-kilometer radius.
  • ADCIRC modeling software. ADCIRC models the height of storm surges that hit the coast during severe weather. Developed by Rick Leuttich of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Sciences, RENCI has helped to create a version of this software specific to the North Carolina coast.
  • A next-generation webpage for the North Carolina Emergency Management Association created by RENCI. This webpage utilizes new technology to help emergency managers communicate using such features as SmileTiger, an online conferencing software package.
  • Introduction to OK-First. This discussion will include panelists from RENCI, the National Weather Service, the State Climate Office and participants from Oklahoma discussing a training program for emergency responders developed in Oklahoma. RENCI is helping to create a North Carolina version of the program.
  • RENCI’s umanned aerial vehicle. Equipped with a digital camera and programmed to receive transmissions from battery operated, low-power sensors in remote locations, the UAV can gather data from areas too dangerous or too remote to be reached by humans.
  • Micro Rain Radar. RENCI is deploying a Micro Rain Radar (MRR)—one of only six in the U.S—to improve ice storm prediction. The radar detects precipitation in the atmosphere and how high above the ground that precipitation will freeze—the freezing line.