The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Sanctuaries Hazardous Incident Emergency Logistics Database System (SHIELDS) is an Internet-based information system designed to improve access to critical data, plans, and tools for National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) personnel and their partners for contingency planning and response situations. At the core of the SHIELDS project is a website developed for each of the thirteen National Marine Sanctuaries and one coral reef ecosystem reserve in the sanctuary designation process. Each site hosts general planning and response information, such as policies and contingency plans. More so, SHIELDS takes advantage of leading information technology to improve the availability of vital response information and folds it into one comprehensive website. The use of Geographic Information System (GIS) data has expanded from static hardcopy maps to web-based interactive mapping, allowing Internet users to easily examine Sanctuary-specific geographic data from any location. SHIELDS offers NOAA modeling tools to analyze the fate of pollutants and live buoy data for real-time oceanographic conditions. Web-based databases within SHIELDS allow the user to enter or query information on personnel contact and location, potential Sanctuary threats, geographic response plans (GRPs) and Resources and UnderSea Threats (RUST) data, post updated incident text and documentation, or look up response glossary terms. Although SHIELDS relies extensively on the use of the Internet to distribute its information, it has also been designed to work as a stand-alone product for those inevitable circumstances when Internet access is not available during a response. The user can load the SHIELDS webpages and data onto their personal computer and carry it to any remote location to access the same data found on the Internet.

SHIELDS provides the most comprehensive incident planning and response information for the National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP). This ensures that NOAA fulfills its role as stewards of Sanctuary resources and provides effective and timely response information about their trust resources.

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Author notes

1 Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the position of NOAA, the Department of Commerce, the United States, or Genwest Systems, Inc.