This month, Humanity Road Volunteers and staff gathered at Lake Anna, Virginia for a retreat and planning session. As part of the program, the team was invited to tour FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) facility in Washington DC. The tour included an overview of the activation process and the team met briefly with representatives from the FEMA Private Sector, Voluntary Agency Liaison, Individual Assistance, and National VOAD. “This is Whole Community planning at its best. It gives our team the chance to see first hand how the NRCC operates within our national response framework,” shared Cat Graham, Chief Operations Officer.
“I was very excited to see FEMA engaging us in how we can collaborate in future disaster responses through social media” said Damon Talbot who volunteers for Humanity Road from his home in Oregon.
Humanity Road became a member of the FEMA Tech Sector team in April of 2015 . Since then we have responded to events inside the USA and its protectorates and have been able to get a clearer indication of critical information needs to help improve the flow of information across the tech sector members and partners. Over the past year and a half, Humanity Road has provided situation reports for Louisiana, Maryland, California, West Virginia, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina to name a few.
Since the launch of the program examples of digital deployments included Typhoon Souldelor in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Hurricane Joaquin. In response to CNMI, the Private Sector liaison was enroute to meet with the local Chamber of Commerce, and Humanity Road volunteers compiled reports that provided an initial overview of needs and impacts to businesses and hotels throughout the islands.
In Oct 2015, Hurricane Joaquin caused extensive flooding along the east coast of the United States. Humanity Road disaster response team received a request for information from FEMA on October 5th and in response provided a detailed Situation Report. The focus was on water supplies, distribution of bottled water, and status of the private sector in the cities of Columbia and Charleston in South Carolina. The team also produced a special resource report which included resources for seniors and people with disabilities.
“Since the roll-out of the Tech Sector program the FEMA Tech Sector partners program has supported and helped to improve mission-related information sharing across all tech sector members. It contributes to a faster response and ensures that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our response capabilities.” Thank you FEMA!