About Chris

Chris Kuryak is the Chief Operating Officer at Recovers. He holds a masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT. He was the President of the MIT Film Club and on the staff of the MIT Clean Energy Prize. He worked for four years at Athena Manufacturing in Austin, Texas after receiving a B.S. from the University of Texas at Austin. He spends his free time working on independent films, playing videogames, and traveling.

Learning from Disaster Data

Donation Items4

Hurricane Sandy donation item distribution

Recovers has been used in several disasters over the past year including Hurricane Sandy , the Oklahoma tornadoes, the Alberta Floods, and the Idaho Wildfires. Part of our mission is to change the way disasters happen by learning from our experiences. A key part in this process is the collection and analysis of non-personally identifiable information, or as we will refer to it, “non-PII” data.

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Want to help? Follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

Here at Recovers, we implement our disaster recovery platform in areas all around the world. These areas can always use a little extra help, and they may be close to where you live.  By following us on Twitter or liking our Facebook page, you will be able to keep up with:

  • Where we are launching
  • How you can help

And as you think about giving this holiday season, the Philippines can still use your help. Consider donating directly to the Philippines Red Cross.

Thanks for all of your support so far!

A Year After Hurricane Sandy, Community-Powered Recovery Gains Traction

(Originally published on Huffington Post)

What was your first experience with “disaster?” Did you watch the aerial footage of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina? Are you a New Yorker who lost power or a car during Hurricane Sandy? Lose power during an ice storm? Everybody’s story is personal — my first taste of disaster was a tornado wrecking my home in 2011. You dust yourself off and move on.

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How to Make a Disaster Worse

volunteerIn recent disasters, I have seen an inspiring amount of goodwill and kindness pour into affected areas from all around the country. These volunteers and donations are essential for rebuilding a community. However, the huge rush of people and items can often overwhelm local organizers and slow the recovery effort. Naturally, organizers are very hesitant to turn you away during a recovery effort. So let’s keep from overwhelming them – try to follow these four rules and help the recovery effort run a little smoother.

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US Hurricanes, a Primer

file0001534313837Hurricanes are giant, ocean-based, spinning storms that can carry wind speeds of 150 mph or more. You can’t recognize a hurricane from the ground. They are so big — often hundreds of miles across — that we can only recognize their distinct swirling shape and eye with radar and satellite imagery. However, if they come onto land, there’s no mistaking how powerful and dangerous they can be. The United States is under threat from hurricanes every year, and scientists continue to improve forecasting models to help keep us safe.
 
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Oklahoma Tornado Recovery – Moore.Recovers.org

Homepage-Moore

The outpouring of goodwill to Oklahoma in the wake of the May tornadoes has been incredible.

When the tornadoes struck Moore, Oklahoma on May 20, 2013, we launched and donated the site Moore.Recovers.org to the local community to help them organize their recovery effort.  Since its launch, the site has has been used by about 15 different local Oklahoma organizations, including Americorps, several local churches, and the Moore City Hall. It has proven invaluable to have all of these organizations and the local residents working together within the same system to meet the needs of the community.

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New Feature: Community Featured Image

This past week, we released another new feature for the community organizers using our Recovers.org online toolkit: Community Featured Image.

Where is it?

You can think of this image as the “profile picture” of your community. It appears in two places:

  1. On the upper left corner of your community’s homepage at [yourtown].recovers.org
    Featured Image 1
  2. On the Recovers Communities page at recovers.org/communities
    Feature Image 2

How Can I Change It?

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MacGyver Didn’t Prepare me for an Earthquake

I think of myself as a pretty resourceful guy, and handy with duct tape and a pair pliers. When a deer charged my car and knocked my rearview mirror off a few months ago, I was able to fix it myself just fine. But as a new resident of the state of California, I’m starting to realize that I am not really ready to deal with EVERY problem.  A large earthquake is going to hit California in the near future,  a fact confirmed recently by scientists and researchers. So how should I react when it happens?

The Earthquake Flowchart I made

The Earthquake Flowchart I made

This is the question I asked myself last week, to which I had no definitive answer. Unlike many other dangerous situations, watching episodes of MacGyver had not prepared me for an earthquake. Therefore, I decided to search the net for earthquake safety tips. I have distilled my findings into the following blog post.  Continue reading

Disaster Planning for the Disabled

In your community, are there any plans specific to evacuating disabled individuals?
In New York City, the answer is no.

WheelchairQuestion

What’s The Problem?
New Yorkers are in federal court arguing that the city needs disaster evacuation planning specifically for the disabled.  Numerous complaints were received after Hurricane Sandy by disabled residents who were unable to access evacuation vehicles, shelters, or resources. According to the CDC, this is a widespread issue, as about 50 million Americans, or roughly 20% of the population have disabilities or access needs. It is clear that disabled individuals may need special consideration during evacuation and recovery. So why aren’t we building their needs into disaster planning? And what can you be doing as a resident or government official to help?

How Can Recovers Help?

For individual residents, our new preparedness platform (currently called ‘Ready‘) provides disabled individuals with information specific to their situation and location such as: Continue reading