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Amato L, Dello Buono D, Izzi F, La Scaleia G, Maio D.2016. HELP - An Early warning dashboard System, built for the prevention, mitigation and assessment of disasters, with a flexible approach using open data and open source technologies. PeerJ Preprints4:e2229v2https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.2229v2
H.E.L.P is an early warning dashboard system built for the prevention, mitigation and assessment of disasters, be they earthquakes, fires, or meteorological systems. It was built to be easily manageable, customizable and accessible to all users, to facilitate humanitarian and governmental response. In its essence it is an emergency preparedness web tool, which can be used for decision making for a better level of mitigation and response on any level.Risks or disasters are not events in our control, rather, they are situations to which we can better manage with a framework based on preparedness. The earlier and more precise the monitoring of hazards allow for faster response to manage and mitigate a disaster’s impact on a society, economy and environment.This is exactly what HELP offers, it plays a main role in the cycle of early warning and risk (Preparedness, Risk, Mitigation, and Resilience). It provides information in real time on events and hazards, allowing for the possibility to analyze the situation and find a solution whose outcome protects the most lives and has the least economic impact. As a tool it also provides the opportunity to respond to a hazard with resilience in mind, this means that not only does HELP prepare for and mitigate events, it can also be used to implement better organizational methods for future events, thus, minimizing overall risk. Providing people with the means to better be able to take care of themselves, lessening the effects of future hazards each and every time. HELP is a tool in a framework which was created to support governments in their efforts to protect their people, building their response efficiency and resilience. HELP (with the name of E.W.A.R.E. Early Warning and Awareness of Risks and Emergencies) was born as WFP (The World Food Program) and IMAA-CNR (Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis of the National Research Council of Italy) entered into a Cooperation Agreement concerning the development of a Geo-Spatial Data Infrastructure System for the Palestinian Civil Defense with the aim of building an enhanced preparedness capacity in Palestine.HELP has a simple and flexible but very effective logic to perform the early warning: Watch to open data sources on risk themes (NASA satellite data, Weather Forecast, world wide seismic networks, etc); Apply (programmable) “intelligence” to detect critical situations, exceeding of thresholds, population potentially involved by events, etc; Highlight critical elements on the map; Send alerts to emergency managers.
Thanks to the received feedbacks from OGRS 2016 reviewer, the article as been updated with the "Conclusions and Perspective" Chapter, with some reference to the open source code repository used, with some motivation on the chosen technologies against other possible traditional alternatives.