Tag Archive | Disaster Response

Of Hurricanes and Hashtags: Disaster Relief in the Social-Media Age

by Adam Mazmanian, National Journal, June 3, 2012

Just hours after a tornado devastated parts of Joplin, Mo., in the late afternoon of May 22, 2011, the mother-daughter team of Rebecca and Genevieve Williams of the nearby town of Neosho went to work on a Facebook page. … In the days that followed, the page became a clearinghouse for information on recovery, how to volunteer, where to donate supplies, media updates, and requests for information about loved ones. Eventually, administrator privileges were extended to 30 volunteers, including public-information officials at the local gas, electric, and water utilities. It was one big piece of a spontaneous eruption of social media that helped those survivors who relied on their smartphones for access to information. …

If the House version of the bill appropriating FEMA’s budget for 2013 becomes law, Fugate will have to show that the agency has a plan for deploying social media. A provision requires FEMA to improve its ability to collect data in real time through social-media monitoring and messaging and directs the agency to produce a report on the utility of social media in disaster response. …

For full text of this article, please visit Of Hurricanes and Hashtags: Disaster Relief in the Social-Media Age – Adam Mazmanian – NationalJournal.com.

Pentagon Contest to Develop Robots to Work in Disaster Areas

by John Markhof, New York Times, April 9, 2012

The Pentagon’s research and development agency is to announce a competition on Tuesday to design specialized robots that can work in disaster zones while operating common tools and vehicles. And while such tasks may well inspire humanoid designs, roboticists say they may also lead to the robotic equivalent of the Minotaur — a hybrid creature that might have multiple arms and not just legs but treads. ….

For full text of this article, visit Pentagon Contest to Develop Robots to Work in Disaster Areas – NYTimes.com.

Find the official details of the competition at the IEEE Spectrum Blog by clicking here.

NOAA app delivers aerial, satellite imagery to first responders’ mobile devices

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By Henry Kenyon, Government Computer News, Oct 07, 2011

Emergency crews responding to major natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes now have access to a Web application that delivers aerial and satellite imagery of the area to their smart phones and tablet computers. The prototype application was created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Geodetic Survey.

Full text of the article via NOAA app delivers aerial, satellite imagery to first responders’ mobile devices — Government Computer News.

New CRS Report on Text Messaging, Section on Using SMS to Support Law Enforcement and Emergency Response

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The Congressional Research Service issued a new report for Congress on Text and Multimedia Messaging on May 18, 2011. Page 12 of the report describes FEMA‘s new Emergency Response Alerting Network (PLAN) implementation plan.

Using SMS to Support Law Enforcement and Emergency Response

In May 2011, the FCC and FEMA announced the implementation of a Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN). This program was previously called the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS), which has been under development since April 2008 under rules developed by the FCC. …

For full text of the article in PDF, visit FAS website here.

How Social Media is Changing Disaster Response – TIME

By Erin SkardaTime online, June 09, 2011

…With cell-phone service largely unavailable and a distance of several thousand miles between her house in Amsterdam, N.Y., and Joplin, Williamson-Smith posted photos of James on several Facebook pages that were created in the aftermath of the tornado. Less than 24 hours later, she saw a comment on a page called “Joplin Tornado Citizen Checks” that said James had been found and was volunteering with search-and-rescue teams. “Even though at that point we hadn’t spoken to him directly, it was comforting to know that someone out there had seen him and that he was O.K.,” says Williamson-Smith. …

For full text of the article visist Facebook to the Rescue! How Social Media is Changing Disaster Response – TIME.

FEMA Administrator on GIS and Social Media for Emergency Management

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by Robert L. Mitchell, The Grill, Computerworld, March 21, .2011

Before becoming administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in May 2009, Craig Fugate was a customer. As director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, he oversaw the state’s response to many hurricanes. Since coming to FEMA, he has responded to disasters such as the tsunami in American Samoa and the massive floods in Tennessee last year. Fugate spoke recently about the need for emergency data feeds, how social media can play a role in disaster response, and his vision of a future that includes a proactive, location-based warning system that contacts cell phone users in harm’s way and provides detailed instructions on what to do. …For full text of the article, visit The Grill: W. Craig Fugate ( – Telecommunication – Internet – Government ).

Geospatial Systems for Emergency and Disaster Operations – New Guide

How GIS Aids Local Government and First Responders in Crises

Available for free?until February 28, 2009 [9.5 MB]
A new case-study guide illustrates how local government and utility first responders are using geospatial information in large-scale emergencies. Published by the Public Technology Institute and GITA, Geospatial Systems That Support Emergency and Disaster Operations: A Case Study Guide for Local Government and Utility First Responders is available until February 28, 2009 at no charge. After that date, the publication will be sold through the PTI Store. http://gita.org/ciper/PTIGeospatialSystems.PDF

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