I agree full with incorporating GIS even more into the planning and decision making process, as well as into other operations activities.
GIS is not just maps, it's a whole system to manage/analyze data for anything that can have, or be connected in some way to something with a geographic reference.
There are a lot of people out there with an interest in GIS, but there isn't much training available for them (especially in emergency management).
If you find a good GIS operator, it is amazing what kind of information they can generate. Don't just look at them as techs that you can stick in the corner; they need to be included so they can advise on what capabilities there are.