Disaster Rescue Solutions

If Hurricane Harvey taught us one thing, it would be that the citizens of this world have no plan or system in place to respond to a major disaster on a non governmental level. If the government sanctioned first responders can't help for any reason, who else is can you call on? Sure there are tons of disaster rescue and recovery organizations already out there, and while they are all doing great work, they're all doing their own thing with little coordinating efforts with other disaster agencies. There is not a centralized place for everyone to collaborate which leaves the rest of the public stuck trying to improvise something if ever there be a time like Harvey, that calls for a large number of volunteer citizens to perform rescue efforts. We had Zello, a walkie-talkie app and a bunch of great people, that was it. Everything we were doing out there to help people was all done on the fly, with no plan or system and very little direction. But, because of the grace of God and the great people we were working with, we made it through and did the best job we could have ever done with the tools we had. Through these experiences and a lot of lessons learned, this site came about.

Some of the problems we experienced during the rescue phase of Harvey and have committed to solving include:

Problem: Privacy.

Experience / Concerns:

  • People's houses got vandalized and/or robbed after they were flooded because they gave out their addresses on a public place.


Solutions:

  • Provide the system and people in place to channel private information only to limited verified Rescuers.


Problem: Coordination.

Experience / Concerns:

  • Too many boats in one area and not enough in others.
  • Knowing where rescues / rescuer's were.
  • Keeping track of what's going on where.
  • ETC. X's 20.


Solutions:

By utilizing the same method of communication and information dispersion that governmental agencies use, the NIMS protocol, a standardized method of responding and communicating during a disaster or emergency, along with a ticketing and que system combined with heat maps and other organizational technologies, the community at TXDis can keep things flowing smoothly in active disaster situations.

Problem: Identify Verification.

Experience / Concerns:

  • Fake rescue calls were made and volunteers showed up wasting their time, some were even set up to be ambushed.
  • Looters were posing as rescue volunteers.


Solutions:

Make everyone validate their accounts with their phone number and possible link to their Facebook account. From the app people can scan another's QR Code and be taken to their profile. Possible ID badges. Having a better system to vet and verify volunteers and rescuees.

Problem: Lack of Connections.

Experience / Concerns:

  • Finding someone with a certain asset or skill set was very difficult and time consuming.


Solutions: 

Whether you're a boat mechanic or school teacher, have an air-boat or military truck, can perform search and rescue or CPR, there is a tag or group for that. Tag yourself which allows others to find you by map and availability.

Problem: No Efficiency.

Experience / Concerns:

  • When the difference of life and death can be made in a matter of moments, it is important to keep things as proficient as possible.


Solutions: 

By having the proper platform, procedures and people in place before a disaster strikes, volunteers are able to expedite rescue with less error.

Problem: Volunteers not recognized as first responders.

Experience / Concerns:

  • Even though people were in dire need of help, in some areas volunteers were turned away or removed from an area because they were not recognized First Responders.


Solutions: 

Our goal is to organize people into groups that are able to be vetted, credentialed, trained and authorized to work in as many places as possible.

Problem: No duty delegation or chain of command.

Experience / Concerns:

  • People weren't sure what to do or how to help.
  • Efforts were often unnecessarily duplicated.
  • People going rogue and compromising others.


Solutions: 

Setting the proper procedures and protocols in place before a disaster will allow the members of the community to work together and follow the guidelines set forth in the event of a disaster.

Problem: No centralized place of information.

Experience / Concerns:

  • There wasn't a place to go to find updated information regarding rescue that was moderated, reliable and accurate.


Solutions:

Having a centralized place of accurate and up-to-date information provides the ability to display and alert people to important notices, such as potentially life threatening issues.

Problem: Without a team, it's easy to feel like you're all alone.

Experience / Concerns:

  • Many say that not having a support system during a time of crisis can be detrimental to overcoming that crisis.
  • People were scared, It was every man, woman and child for themselves.
  • Volunteers and victims both experienced the feeling of not having someone else to lean on or call upon in a time of need.
  • The pool of knowledge contained in a group versus one person is always greater.


Solutions: 

By promoting community growth, following the NIMS protocol and assigning different people to different roles it will not only make things flow more smoothly, it will also support team building. The social media platform will make it easy for everybody to form and participate in groups and keep up with people you meet along the way.

Problem: Cross communication between organizations

Experience / Concerns:

  • There wasn't much communication or coordination between individual disaster groups.
  • Efforts were often unnecessarily duplicated.
  • No sharing of assets, volunteers or information.


Solutions: 

By bridging the gap and allowing everyone to plug in to our system, everyone, including a large organization is able to communicate and coordinate which allows for complete transparency in the disaster coordination efforts as a whole.

Problem: Lack of training

Experience / Concerns:

  • A lot of people died because lack of training.
  • Most people feel things seem much more chaotic if they aren't at least around someone who is trained.
  • Feelings of strife, confusion and worry can all be eased by knowing how to deal or cope with disasters.


Solutions: 

Actively engaging the members of the community to train, prepare and insert themselves into various roles of all of life's calamities. Offering regular practice drills, online seminars and organizing sponsored training and certification classes which earns credentials, badges and merit.

Problem: Volunteer Safety

Experience / Concerns:

  • There wasn't a place to find updated information regarding rescue that was moderated, reliable and accurate.

Solutions: 
Having a centralized place for information that is constantly updated and verified helps with getting information out to volunteers.
Disaster Relief Solutions
Jon Cole interviews with Todd Devoe of EM Weekly
 

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Tuesday, 23 April 2019