How to we plan ahead for what might happen? In the Midwest, we face disaster in the form of tornado, flood, snow storms, hail, as well as concerns around terrorism. Around the country, government, non profit, and interested citizens are developing creative methods to support this effort. Here are some of my favorites:
Evacuteer.org One of the controversies during Katrina and Rita was the process of evacuating residents, who, if they did not have a car, were nearly powerless to leave the city (http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/background-katrina). Enter Evacuteer, which trains citizen activists to assist with residents leaving the city, via public transit and rideshare. Evacuteer utilizes social media, the City of New Oreans’ Emergency Preparedness office, and local non profits as partners in selecting pick up points (which now have eight foot high sculptures to signify a pick up point).
PrepareMetroKC. Kansas City Metropolitan Emergency Managers Committee manages this site, which in 2013, included a series of Youtube videos, and implemented a Wireless Emergency Alert system which goes right to cell phones within the tower range. They’ve also set up a “Create My Plan” webpage for people to develop personalized preparedness plans. Finally, PrepareMetroKC utilizes VolunteerMatch for community members interested in volunteering.
And last, FEMA (and Ready.gov) has done a fantastic job of integrating social media into their platform, from text message alerts, twitter, facebook, and youtube feeds. Another interesting part of FEMA’s platform is their think tank, which has two components: an online forum and discussion sessions. All are open to the general public. Finally, my favorite FEMA resource is their open platform, whose mission is so awesome, it’s posted here:
“The mission of the OpenFEMA initiative is to expand and promote a culture of Open Government among the Agency and build public trust among the Whole Community; to increase transparency, participation, and collaboration in support of the Nation’s ability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.”