About Us

Disaster Incident Research Team (DIRT)

The Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program is developing a research program designed to operate in the post-impact disaster area.  The Disaster Incident Research Team (DIRT) is comprised of faculty and staff from the Center for Disaster Risk Policy, the applied research arm of EMHS.  In addition to CDRP personnel, DIRT will eventually bring students and outside faculty and researchers into the field where they can conduct various research activities in the disaster area.
The modular aspect of the DIRT team allows for a multi-discipline approach to disaster research, all supported and controlled by the DIRT team framework.  DIRT will deploy to a variety of disaster and crisis environments, including hurricanes, floods, wildfire, and tornados.  While the emphasis is on domestic events, DIRT may expand to international co
mparative research in the future.
Further inquiries can be directed to the DIRT Program Manager, David Merrick at dmerrick@fsu.edu.
Here are some common questions about the program.
Who is eligible to participate?  
As DIRT continues in the pilot phase, only CDRP and EMHS employees will be deploying to the field.  Once the DIRT process and framework is in place, we will expand the participation to FSU EMHS students (both graduate and undergraduate). Students must have successfully completed the Foundations of Emergency Management course, and it's preferred that they have also completed EM Planning and Policy. Students selected for DIRT will join on a volunteer basis - there is no salary (though expenses will be reimbursed).
Students must also complete an interview with the DIRT program managers prior to be accepted to the program.
Once accepted, students will be placed on the DIRT roster of available personnel.  
Who will deploy?
Teams will consist of between 4 and 6 personnel, though occasionally it may be higher.  Not every DIRT member will deploy every time.   
How long is a deployment?
Deployments may last as long as six days.
What equipment is required?
Personal equipment, including clothing, toiletries, cell phone, etc. is the responsibility of the team member.  Checklists of suggested and required equipment will be provided upon acceptance to the DIRT roster.
What kind of working or living conditions are expected?
Team members may be out of touch with friends and family for several days, sleeping in crowded conditions, and/or working in hot/cold conditions without climate control.  In other words, we may not be comfortable all the time.
What kind of research will be conducted?
Initial research packages include 'ground truth' verification of media reports, business support surveys, and network analysis of EM personnel communication.  The primary method will be case study and survey work.

Latest Updates

Application of Unmanned Aircraft Systems to be Offered in Fall 2016

June 25, 2015
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The Dilling McDaniel Scholarship for Veteran’s and Active Duty Service Members

January 12, 2017
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EMHS and CDRP Deploy a UAS for Statewide Hurricane Exercise

May 22, 2015
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UAS Course in the Media

December 19, 2014
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Contact Us

Emergency Management & Homeland Security Program | Florida State University
113 Collegiate Loop
Tallahassee, FL 32309