Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bringing It All Together for Disaster Preparedness

(Originally posted to <

As a side effect of volunteering with the Katrina PeopleFinder Project, I've started to worry about future disasters, and a few of us on the team have started to think about long term preparedness.

Here's a vision that we've been discussing:

We could bring together the CityCares / Hands On Network, the Community Technology Center Network, and the Katrina PeopleFinder Project team

The Hands On Network could recruit, screen, and coordinate concerned members of the community who are interested in short-term volunteer tasks.

CTCnet could coordinate the use of local community technology centers as disaster preparedness training sites and as sites to which volunteers would report in the event of an emergency.

The Katrina PeopleFinder Project team could provide the technical skills, experience, resources, and training.

In the event of a disaster, Hands On Network volunteers in unaffected areas (who were previously trained by the PeopleFinder Project team) could proceed to the nearest CTCnet affiliate - in order to process data about missing persons, or to help distraught loved ones who are searching for evacuees to enter queries into the PeopleFinder data repository.

I've already been in touch with Lisa Flick (Hands On Network's national director of network development) and Kavita Singh  (CTCnet's executive director) about this, and both of them have responded very positively.  Of course, it's understood that we all have to cope with the current emergency before we can discuss long term plans, but I'm hopeful about the future.

Deborah Elizabeth Finn
Boston, Massachusetts, USA