Disasters happen all the time, and when they happen, they are unpredictable. Usually, there are a few prominent organizations taking care of the response, followed by an outpouring of people trying to help through donations and goodwill labor. Often, people have time and resources and want to help, but don’t know how they can help.
With modern smartphone technology, we can make it easier to organize disaster responses. An emergency response app can be linked up with the major aid organizations. These organizations can add items to a public todo list. Someone who wants to help can look at the public to-do list of ways to help and get right to work. Some example todo list items include:
- Children stranded on top of a car at the corner of 22nd & main. Boat needed for rescue.
- 20 people needed to help put up sandbag barrier at the zoo.
- Blankets and food needed at Community Church
- Clear fallen tree at 2nd & St. Johns St. Chainsaw required.
- Truck needed in front of City Hall to move emergency vehicle from ditch
These are just a few random examples. The disaster response app can also have a way to delegate tasks to willing helpers, provide GPS coordinates where help is needed, and allow other uses of the app to request help. A recognition system could be used within the app, perhaps awarding points to people who complete or participate in todo items. Public recognition is often all it takes to spur people to action. Such an app can connect disaster response organizations directly with individuals who want to help, speeding up response time and removing ambiguity in how people can help. It’s like crowd-sourcing disaster response.
Do you know of any disaster response apps? Let me know in the comments.