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Creating a Canadian Red Cross Disaster Management Unit

January 24, 2012 3 comments

What do you do when you live in an area where pagers won’t work?

That’s what the newly formed Canadian Red Cross Muskoka-West Parry Sound Disaster Management team faced as we geared up operations.

Beautiful lakes, small towns, rock and trees makes this area desirable but not the best for traditional emergency call out systems for the Red Cross. Stephen Dubois, Disaster Management volunteer came up with up with a creative solution of ‘iamresponding.com‘, a response communications system designed specifically for first responders.

With IamResponding.com, you are able to:

  • Know immediately if you have volunteers on the way, or if you need to contact additional personnel;
  • Know who is responding to the callout, to the scene or any other location; and
  • Reduce response times.

The web based system works across most communications devices including computers, land line telephones, mobile phones and smart phones.

How can you better communicate with volunteers in an age of social media?Image

This is the ‘social media age’ and more proactive agencies such as the Canadian Red Cross look for ways to harness this new media’s potential.

The Canadian Red Cross Muskoka Disaster Management team turned to the services of Partnerships Towards Safer Communities (PTSC-Online) where Bill MacKay offered to create a “space” or mini community within PTSC-Online to support our team.  Public and restricted blog/calendar and wiki services will permit the disaster management team to have two-way links to its volunteers for non-emergency communications.

This is similar to other spaces such as is used by the National Fire Protection Association. See the Networking Partnerships area which highlights other organizations PTSC-Online is working with. I’m certain as time passes, other emergency response agencies will adopt similar means to communicate. It really is interesting times!

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