Social Media for Disaster Management: Interview with Captain Yo Gikas

by Zack Bastian, Communia Blog, Woodrow Wilson Center, October 17, 2011

Following the jointly sponsored Wilson Center and National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation event titled Liability and Reliability of Crowdsourced and Volunteered Information for Disaster Management, Zack Bastian interviewed panelist Captain Xenophon “Yo” Gikas about the use of social media to rapidly gain situational awareness for emergency response and the potential role for “digital volunteers.” Captain Gikas is a 23 year veteran with the Los Angeles Fire Department. He also has held the positions of Firefighter, Chief Officer’s Staff Assistant, and Dispatcher.

…My goal is to put information in the hands of the responders before response is needed.  What used to be completely unknown to responders, using technology, can be known before an event happens. Social media creates human sensors.  Someone with a broadband connected smart phone can do an amazing amount of things for emergency responders.  Recently we’ve been working on project named Cell All: developing hazmat/biosensors built into cell phones.  These tools can automatically detect dangerous carbon monoxide levels or a chlorine release for example.  We could use this to automatically send a Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) message.  The power of that early warning is incredible. …

For full text of the interview, visit: Social Media for Disaster Management: Interview with Captain Xenophon Gikas « Communia.

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