Introduction to the Disaster Client Data Standard

After Hurricane Katrina, the many disaster response partners involved learned how critical it is support effective and flexible technology. No disaster is the same, both the response and the technology must adjust to changing requirements. The requirement for rapid scaling and adaptation of technology necessitate adherence to data exchange standards. Data exchange standards, and the DCDS specifically, must be an elemental component of any disaster response effort to permit the collaboration of the hundreds of partners that participate in even small scale disasters. DCDS begins to enable coordinated interagency care, the use of multiple software systems within a single response, and greater resource leveraging.

Overview of DCDS

The goal of the DCDS is to provide a freely licensed, software independent format for exchanging basic profile data of pre and post-disaster clients. The timely sharing of standardized disaster client information will result in enhanced case management and delivery of services. The DCDS only describes client data. Disaster resource information is standardized within the National Response Framework, the National Information Exchange Model, and the OASIS Emergency Management Technical Committee. The recognition and inclusion through reference of these Standards allows the industry experts in each field to develop the appropriate standard while allowing the entire community to benefit from their potentially life saving work.

Development Process

The DCDS is a product of the partnership of many disaster relief organizations, software vendors, and HUD’s National Homeless Management Information Systems Technical Assistance Project working through the Coordinated Assistance Networks (CAN) Client Data Exchange Project and it was funded in part by the Hurricane Recovery Program (HRP). The Client Data Exchange Project is a directed effort by CAN to improve circulation of reliable client information within the American Red Cross and partner agencies during disasters. Disaster relief agencies responding to Hurricane Katrina learned that greater leverage of resources requires adherence to data exchange standards, so they can be part of a larger information network.

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