Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Part 3: social convergence in the EOC/ICP ... Logistics and Fin/Admin

In this third and final post in this series on social convergence in the EOC/ICP, I'll address the benefits for the logistics and fin/admin people.

I first looked at Command (June 9)  and then for Ops and Planning (June 24).  I also wrote a guest blog post for Geofeedia on the role of social convergence (with a focus on social monitoring) for situational awareness and the efficient allocation of strategic resources. 

For logistics, as well as any other part of the disaster response/management enterprise, social convergence (mobile tech + social networks) offers one key thing: speed. The ability to grasp in almost real-time what the needs of the populations impacted by an emergency might be. 

This might start in the EOC itself with simple geo-fenced monitoring, coupled with hashtag searches for such things as #help, #supplies ... all linked with the incident-specific #. You can quickly match needs and offers of assistance.

Here's examples, I just came across: 

WenatcheeworldJul 18, 7:03pm via InstagramWant to volunteer or donate to the #NCW Fire Victims in #Pateros or other communities? We have an…instagram.com/p/qnDGaADkfm/
#WAwildfire victims need some help in #Brewster and#Pateros near the #CarltonComplex fire. Local businesses are... fb.me/3w9iUPZLL 

Image result for henryville tornadoOne of the most illustrative examples I saw followed the devastating tornado that hit Henryville in Indiana in 2012. Almost immediately, calls for help, and offers for assistance, emerged on Twitter. Local official made the best use of this. 

Here's what it could have looked like in their EOC's logistics section:

A simple two-column dashboard on Tweetdeck (one of my favourite monitoring tools) showing #henryville and #help on one side, and #henryvilleneed on the other. Are you ready for this kind of direct, almost immediate flood of requests and offers of assistance?

It's exactly this kind of problem (in my opinion, opportunity really ...) that the O'Neill sisters (Caitria and Morgan) solved by making the most of social convergence and creating Recovers.org. To quote an article from the Huffington Post

The site works by linking volunteers with where they're needed in specific communities, offering up-to-the-minute social media updates on relief programs, and databasing even the most random donation items so they're easier to disperse exactly where they're needed.
Social convergence is a community resilience booster! It works. It's done so in Boulder and many other communities. My good friend Kim Stephen (@kim26stephens) expanded on that fantastic example in a blog post.

During Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath, crowdsourcing supplies such as gas, the availability of medical equipment and facilities, became common. In other words, supply chain professionals don't have to do all the work alone in a crisis ... the crowd can (and does) help. A good article in this PDF on page 26. The trend is being studied and validated across the globe by academics and business schools.

But for many, it begins much closer to home ... with insurance companies being able to grasp the situation in real-time. They use GIS, social media, to target their response as efficiently as possible.

So, enough about logistics .... point made. 

But what about our fine fin/admin folks (I'm always nice to people who ensure I get paid ! ) ? 

Besides, using online tools to process data and store content, they can use a multitude of mobile apps specifically designed for emergency response. Again, it's about bringing the info directly into the hands of those who need it NOW.

So, if you're not there yet ... it's not too late to get "socially convergent" and bring your EOC and your incident command team into the 21st century.