What is the Emergency Interoperability Consortium (EIC)?

The Emergency Interoperability Consortium (EIC) is an industry/government forum that advocates the use of open data exchange standards for emergency management and emergency data communications. The EIC operates under a memorandum of agreement signed by the Science and Technology Directorate of the US Department of Homeland Security. The EIC is a consortium primarily of software development and service industry members that provides emergency and disaster management tools and applications to federal, state, tribal, territorial, local, and industry agencies and organizations.

The EIC is a not-for-profit corporation that promotes standards development activities which are affiliated with the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), as well as other recognized standards bodies (such as the American National Standards Institute). The EIC was formed to provide a forum for industry to provide feedback to government agencies regarding best practices for emergency data, communications, and technology sharing within the emergency management and emergency response communities. Consortium members and DHS share the common goal of achieving seamless application and data information sharing among disparate systems, services, and functional assets to save lives, reduce injuries, protect property, and preserve homeland security during disasters or common emergencies.

The principal focus of the EIC since its establishment in 2003 has been on the design, development, release and use of Extensible Markup Language (XML) schema-based standards for data exchange. Much of the progress has come through the OASIS Emergency Data Exchange Language (EDXL) family of standards. The EIC has provided a forum to define requirements for several of these standards, passing these requirements to the OASIS technical committees for design and implementation of the standards. Beginning with the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), and progressing to the EDXL Distribution Element (EDXL-DE) and related standards, the EIC has helped to set the bar for innovative and effective emergency data exchange methods.