Disaster Resilience


In response to a request from @ninakin

I had the following idea in 2014 when working a local town committee to respond to issues Vermont suffered from Tropical Storm Irene.

In an emergency that affects an entire area of a municipality, it would be ideal to have a list of resources available within the community that could be accessed when city, state, and federal emergency resources are not available. For example - if a massive ice storm causes severe tree damage that isolates the people on a dead-end road, and the town cannot make it out to clear the road because of ice, or other trees being down closer to the town garage, it would nice to be able to call the town emergency coordinator, and learn that a neighbor nearby has a couple extra chainsaws in his shed. Then the town coordinator calls that neighbor to have them come help with the chainsaws… or tells you who to go talk to.

The resources would be voluntarily registered by those who have them into an application. The application would have a public display, and an admin display. The public display would display a map of the municipality broken up into geographic regions most likely to be cut-off from on another in an event. For example, a community that has a river running down the middle of it may be at least divided into two logical regions based on how likely the river is to flood. For each region, a list of raw resources available in that region would be displayed, along with perhaps a list of things still considered crucial should another want to volunteer the resources. No PII would be shown… all resources for a region are shown to the public as a aggregated into the regional level of the municipality … so that thieves, for example, cannot easily target one person who has something to steal.

The administrative dashboard would not show the data only as aggregated. A trusted admin user would be able to see exactly who has what resources, and thus where each registered resource is normally located. The registered admin would also have the private contact information for each volunteer of a resource, so that in an emergency, the resource owner could be contacted.

So what qualifies as a resource?
Practically anything that helps in an emergency!

Physical things can be resources…
Power tools (chain saws)
Earth moving vehicles/equipment
A dehumidifier
Ham radio equipment
A tractor
A snowblower
Extra toys to entertain kids if a kid’s house is burned down and the parents have nothing to keep the kid entertained
first aid supplies
Gas masks
Winter clothing, extra blankets

But knowledge is also a great resource:
Training in how to use a chainsaw
Training in how to use an excavator
Being an ER doctor professionally… or being a nurse perhaps… or a midwife
Being a vet… or a farmer who works with animals
Knowing how to ride a horse… knowing how to use a lasso

Certifications are a great resource:
Certified WFR
Certified day-care provider (to watch the doctor’s kids, while she is helping save the life of the only guy in town with knowledge of how to use the town excavator… )
Certified pet-care provider (to watch the day-care provider’s neurotic dogs while the day-care provider is watching kids etc.)
Certified massage therapist
Certified psychologist
Certified pharmacist

Sometimes a home’s status is important:
Register a house that is totally wind and solar powered…
Register a house that has a bomb shelter in the basement
Register a house that has pets - the right pet can help calm people down
Register a house that has wood heat

Food/water stockpile
Pet food… or farm animal food
Iodine or other water cleaning chemicals
Matches / lighters / firewood


While I don’t recall any projects specifically that sought to compile a database of preparedness supplies, we had some amazing projects come out of our 2017 Coastal Resiliency and Disaster Response civic hackathon.

>> View Dropbox Showcase of sample of some projects

Particularly of note include:

  • BlockHero - Find neighbors who aren’t registered for emergency alerts. Get points for each neighbor. Have fun doing important work and save your neighborhood!

  • RescueSavannah Disaster Response Platform - Using off-the-shelf hardware and cloud based services, we can turn natural disasters recovery into hours instead of days. To demo live app, log in here with the following demo credentials:

+Hyperlocal Resiliency Tracker

And then the winning pitch and prototype:

Wright Square - Hack for Savannah.pdf (1.2 MB)