As folks in New Orleans know, hurricanes and their aftermath can be difficult and stressful times for all. Our goal is to make finding initial basic needs (shelter, food, and water) as frustration-free as possible.
Unfortunately, with information released individually by cities, towns, counties and states in varying formats and at varying web addresses, finding information that pertains to you can be a difficult task, despite efforts to the contrary.
This project is a multi-brigade effort to provide technology and information support for hurricane response efforts led by FEMA in collaboration with other volunteer organizations.
The effort began when the Sketch City brigade in Houston organized a response effort for Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Following that, the technology has been improved and redeployed for Hurricane Irma in 2017 and Hurricanes Florence and Michael in 2018.
Between responses, we work on the technology platform to ensure we can respond quickly and efficiently when a storm comes, and we hope to improve the platform to support other response characteristics and other disaster types.
During a response, we manage operational issues and try to make information updates as smooth for our call bank volunteers as possible. We also keep up-to-date on official shelter and distribution point lists released by affected cities, counties and states, and ensure our database’s information matches those. When it doesn’t, we determine the state on the ground to the best of our ability and either update our database or feed that information upstream to the affected areas and FEMA (or both). Finally, we often get involved in calling shelters and distribution points, as ensuring data is current and accurate is top priority.
This project has the following goals:
- Provide tools to support just-in-time information delivery to residents of storm-affected areas in need of shelters, food and water
- Support information collection to ensure information delivered is up-to-date and matches of the on-the-ground response
- Project Champion: Ryan Harvey
- API Lead: Ryan Harvey
- Front-end Lead: Michael Bishop (Code for Tampa Bay)
- Coordinator: Christopher Whitaker (Code for America)
We’re looking for the following types of help:
- Ruby on Rails
- Front-end web development
- Jekyll/Liquid template scripting
- User experience
- SMS text message bot
- Information collection (call bank)
- Volunteer management & engagement
- Amateur packet radio & low-power/resource-limited communications
If you’d like to help, contact the Project Champion today!
To get started with this effort, your best starting point is this Google doc.
In addition, you’ll want to join the #hurricane_api channel in the Code for America Slack. You can get a self-invite here.
Hurricane response app code is located on Github in the hurricane-response organization.
The API is in hurricane-response/florence-api.
The front-end template is in hurricane-response/response-theme.