June 24, 2009 By Wayne Hanson
When a train carrying tank cars of ethanol derailed Friday and caught fire in Winnebago County, Ill., officials decided to use the county's emergency notification system to warn residents rather than newly installed sirens. The reason, according to an article in the Rockford Register-Star, was to avoid confusion and to limit the warning to a smaller area than the sirens' three-mile radius.
If residents thought the siren was for a tornado, for example, they might hole up in their basements, rather than vacating the area. The sirens have three warning messages: A continuous tone means severe weather or tornado. A six-second rise and fall is the signal for a terrorist attack, and the evacuation tone rises for 16 seconds and falls for 8 seconds.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.