sealPurdue News

June 1998

Data base of disaster information available on Web

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Information about how to prepare for and recover from natural disasters is available on the Internet through a new program by land-grant universities.

The Extension Disaster Education Network, or EDEN, is a multistate effort to help county officials improve the delivery of services to citizens affected by disasters. EDEN has established a Web site,, which has information on a variety of specific topics, such as:

Flood cleanup information.

  • Preparing homes for common disasters.
  • Safe food handling during power outages.
  • Emergency management for business and industry.
  • Helping children cope with disaster.
  • Checklist for people with mobility problems.
  • Applying for federal disaster relief.
  • Agricultural problems and how to solve them.

In addition, the Web site has links to major disaster resources on the Internet, such as the Web sites for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross and the National Hazards Center.

Pat Skinner, Extension associate in environmental programs at Louisiana State University and a national coordinator for EDEN, says the program grew out of the need for information during the Midwestern floods of 1993. "It began as a regional group to share information, and it has become a national venture. Our purpose is to share ideas and information about disaster mitigation and recovery."

Skinner says the Web site can be used to find state Extension office disaster educators, not just published information. "The state Extension agent can help locate useful information for the citizen and can help interpret information retrieved from out of state as to its local applicability," she says.

According to Steve Cain, communications specialist at Purdue University's Department of Agricultural Communication and co-coordinator of the EDEN project in Indiana, EDEN is designed to reduce the impact of disasters by coordinating information available from various land-grant universities and putting it into the hands of people who can make a difference.

"When a disaster strikes a community, people need information right now," Cain said. "It may be information on how to keep food safe, how to care for pets or livestock, or how to reclaim their home. EDEN was produced by an association of land-grant universities that can provide that type of information based on research. In the past, we've relied on overnight delivery or faxing of information to key people in a community. Today, those people can access critical information via the EDEN Web site."

Cain says that although the EDEN data base was created for use by Cooperative Extension Service educators and agents, it was put on the Web so that it would be available to anyone. "There are many people in communities -- firefighters, emergency management personnel, animal care providers -- who can benefit from this data base of information," he said.

CONTACTS: Skinner, (504) 388-6999, e-mail,; Cain, (765) 494-8410; e-mail,

Compiled by Chris Sigurdson, (765) 494-8415; e-mail,
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail,

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