Urgent Evoke

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Learn7 Critical Challenges to Washington DC

Since my nearest metropolitan area is Washington, DC, there are many redundancies of infrastructure protection available and accessible to interested "first responders," community leaders, neighborhood watch coordinators, shelter and assistance organization heads, et cetera.

Duties in a crisis range from the unpleasant eventuality of preparing and staffing a temporary (mass) morturary, and attendant guidance for preserving any available identifying information, to national/federal emergency management guidelines and homeland security protocols for interagency cooperation in assisting civilians, staff of foreign embassies etc., schools, shelters, hospitals, hotels and so forth undertake either evacuation or shelter in place efforts.

Communications redundancies, including what is called interoperability (exchange between emergency responders and public-safety broadband communications) are in place, and should/can be augmented with ham and am radio, even walkie-talkies (a lot of the local guard patrol services use walkie talkies), cel phones, and texting devices.

Since there is some industry, there are rail and metro-rail systems, trucking and warehousing systems, and multiple theater and sports arenas, plans encompass responder training to these facilities.

Evacuation routes and first and follow responder transit plans are in place, and local officials and the emergency message alert system has/will have this information available.

Ushahidi could be of assistance in coordinating mapping of shelter-in-place populations, in showing open roads or traffic-jammed routes on gps-coordinate maps. Ushahidi could also reference existing medical, food, water, medicines, shelter supplies, and coordinate hospital, fire, police, and other rescue and relief efforts. Ushahidi could also take advantage of the major news networks (TV, radio, broadband, press) located in the area, for additional sources of information, and avenues of dissemination (broadcast) of information.

In the event of a natural disaster, fire, storm, flood, snowfall, the redundancy systems could be used as well. There are many items to be considered in the event of crisis, but for this Learn7 post, Ushahidi and its potential are the focus, and resilient survival the goal.

Views: 18

Comment by Marc Norab on April 18, 2010 at 1:13pm
Interesting that you mention foreign embassies. One of the requirements of U.S. embassies is that they have no "double standard" when it comes to releasing information on potential crisis situations to American citizens who have registered with their local American embassy/consulate. (This came out of the Lockerbie Pan Am disaster, where intel on potential terrorist targeting of airlines was not shared beyond the embassy community.) I don't know if other countries have the same policies, or if they should be mandated to do so. Before one government should be obligated to take care of foreign embassies in a crisis situation, shouldn't that embassy have some burden to also work with their own citizens in that country?
Comment by Michele Baron on April 19, 2010 at 4:59pm
good points, Marc. I don't know the answer to that. It seems as if responsibilities of providing accurate information and support should be shared. There could be a problem, otherwise, not only of access, but also basic linguistic barriers... Maybe others on Evoke have ideas?
Comment by A.V.Koshy on April 19, 2010 at 5:15pm
many countries dont have any such rule marc
Comment by Wintermute on April 20, 2010 at 3:54pm
It's good to know the our capital is seemingly so secure.
Comment by Martin Dyer on April 26, 2010 at 10:21am
Very thought provoking..great work! :)
Comment by Paul Holze on April 26, 2010 at 6:35pm
well thought out...

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