A crash course in changing the world.
Living on a small island as I do, we depend on boats to get us to the hospital on the mainland. We have a ferry that runs every hour but not before 6AM or after 10PM. There are emergency service plans to manage after-hour emergencies but it takes time to get the crew in place and the ferry is slower. Besides, both ferry captains are infected. Sometimes they use a water taxi company but they wouldn't have enough boats to handle everyone.
We have an active boating/fishing community who know the waters well and many have their own dock so can be ready to move much quicker. These are the people I will call upon. They know when I invoke the 'Calling All Boaters' signal from the emergency broadcast devices what to do, and hearing this signal, the community understands they are on stand-by.
I have confirmed this situation requires the Boaters, engage our Ushahidi site and invoke their emergency signal.
The flood of requests on the web to the government and health authorities renders their web site useless. I engage my "Dark Site" and redirect traffic.
In this outbreak, time is everything, we need to get the newly infected people over to the other side in a hurry so they can be properly quarantined and we need to bring in health/support staff from the mainland so they can a****s the situation, they're waiting on the other side.
The boaters will report in to our Ushahidi site and confirm passenger names so we know who is safely off the island when we do the head count.
The Health Authorities have determined we need to evacuate the island, this is the breeding ground for the virus since the sea-lice from open-net fish farms were infected and it went airborne. It could also be spreading to the nearby outer-islands.
The larger fishing boat operators check the Ushahidi site and have been on stand-by since this morning when I posted the heath authorities warned me an emergency evacuation will likely be necessary. I've had another ferry captain brought in, but the ferry can't handle everyone at once and it would take too long going back and forth.
I invoke the Emergency Evacuation signal, the community have prepared and know what they are bringing and where to report. Resorts, Hotels and B+Bs report in their projected guest numbers are higher than projected so I invoke the signal on the mainland that we need additional Boaters to come across. They check our Ushahidi site to determine what pick-up dock to go to and who is already on the way. Good, I confirm enough have responded to handle the passenger numbers and put up the message for the rest to please remain on stand-by.
The Emergency signal has also been triggered on the smaller islands including Cortez which depends on the ferry from Quadra to get to the mainland. They invoke their own signal to alert their community, while no cases have been reported there it could be some have not come to light yet given the incubation period of the virus. They start preparing their communities for possible evacuation and Cortez ferry switches the route to go directly to the mainland.
I'm so glad we've avoided panic setting in for the evacuation because we have practiced the call-out and every resident knows the plan and what to do. We only had a year to prepare for this but we used the time wisely and it is now paying off.
One month later we have been given the all-clear to return, everyone knows their designated ferry time because we've posted it on our Dark Site. They'd just as soon not wait forever in a line-up anyway so everyone checks for their departure time according to our districts. Priority loading has been given to the business owners so they can get ready for us locals to come back home.
Everyone was so excited about the news on the TV that night, we managed our emergency outbreak so smoothly it put our little island way out in the wilds right on the map.
I've booked the community hall for the first meeting to discuss what we did right, what we did wrong, what we can do better and who should be on the team to implement the improvements while it's fresh on everyone's mind.
It's going to be a pot-luck dinner, we have the best ones here, and our local bands want to play so for sure we'll be celebrating our success as a cracker-jack prepared community right after we take care of business.
Our "Dark Site" and Ushahidi sites get a rest until we implement the changes we learned to make the next time even better.
Other remote island communities around the world are contacting me to find out how they can implement their emergency evacuation plan so I've decided to host a mixed-reality event here on the island with a sliding-scale entrance fee and home-stay sharing for those who can't afford to pay for a room, as well as a virtual location for those who are unable to come so it's not necessary to be here in person to participate. The Real Life audience and the Virtual audience will be able to see and hear each other, break out into workgroups and give their presentations. That's the cool part of a mixed reality event.
I am so thankful my community helped me make this wh*** dreamy vision from a year ago a reality.
UPDATE: 20100503 After writing this, I realized we really do need an emergency signal system on my island so am researching this and considering it as an Evokation I love when one idea sparks another!