When disaster strikes, emergency management decisions makers immediately come under pressure to make the best decisions, as fast as they can.
Information is both a key and a scarce resource.
The Case For Change
“Within 30 minutes of the Kaikoura Earthquake [NZ, Nov 2016], we knew the township had been badly effected. But as for [200km north and 200km south]… we were in the dark“, said a senior Civil Defence manager, reflecting on their firsthand experience of a recent 7.8 magnitude Earthquake in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, the pervasive, and dependent nature of internet connectivity has made social media, the ‘go to’ place for community in modern disasters. New Zealands GeoNet website, which allows users to register that they ‘felt’ an earthquake, recorded 15,840 reports in the first hour after that Kaikoura 7.8, with the website taking 250 million hits in 24 hours (peaking at 35,000 hits per second)*.
“…social media replaced the church as the place many Christchurch people went to for support after the region’s earthquakes“, according to Erkant Veer, Senior Lecturer Marketing, Canterbury University, in response to the Christchurch, NZ 2011 Earthquake.
what if we could harness the power of social media;
take the load off emergency services;
deliver real time welfare information, fast;
allow Emergency Services to make better decisions?
Disruption Via Crowdsourced Welfare Data
Ema enables the crowdsourcing of large scale welfare data in emergencies and represents the next generation of AI tools for emergency welfare managers. A cloud-based solution that can be pre-deployed and able to scale massively in response to the next disaster; Ema is a multi-lingual, compassionate, conversational chatbot that gently guides people of all ages, ethnicity and degrees of technical competence through an online welfare assessment.
“Key tenets of SituateMe’s solution are there is ‘nothing to download’ and ‘nothing to sign up for’” says Rob Gourdie, co-founder of SituateMe and a former Red Cross emergency worker and military officer.
“The other critical aspect of SituateMe’s solution, is that we affordably put the CIP in the hands of as many decision makers in the emergency management ecosystem as possible, allowing operational efficiency through shared situational awareness” said Gourdie. He goes on to cite that Ema is not only able to be deployed on one organisations online channels, but those of every organisation in the emergency management ecosystem, feeding into a single pane of glass in the ECC.
“So think FEMA, Red Cross, Local Law Enforcement, Local Fire, NGO’s, other State and Federal agencies; Ema can go on ALL of them for maximum coverage and feed into a single CIP” adds Helen Luwen Wang, fellow co-founder and survivor of the 2011 6.3 Christhchurch earthquake.
The team came out of a Techstars Startup Weekend run by Creative HQ, with a Humanitarian Aid & Disaster Response (HADR) theme and sponsored by the New Zealand Defence Force. Since then, the team has enjoyed great support from the NZDF, actively facilitating innovation both inside and outside their organisation. Currently the team is working with emergency management organisations to refine and test their product, which spans all phases of the Disaster Lifecycle. This includes the real time collection of welfare data immediately prior to a foreseeable emergency such as a weather event. This is where the SituateMe team gets really excited, as the ability to provide street-level preparedness data for accurate response planning, represents an unheralded advancement in modern emergency management.
New Zealand has the unenviable title of being one of the best places in the world to field test emergency management solutions, sitting on the Ring of Fire and surrounded on all sides by vast oceans and exposed to Mother Nature’s wrath at times. However combine that, with its desire for innovation and problem solving, and the SituateMe team feel very positive about the impact they can have.
[For further information contact: Rob Gourdie, firstname.lastname@example.org]
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When disaster strikes, emergency management decisions makers immediately come under pressure to make the best decisions, as fast as they can. Information is both a key and a scarce resource. The Case For Change “Within 30 minutes of the Kaikoura Earthquake [NZ, Nov 2016], we knew the township had been badly effected. But as for […]