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Recovers powers #BolesFire recovery

Last week, the city of Weed, CA was devastated by a fire that destroyed 110 homes and forced the evacuation of nearly 2,000 residents. To help organize the city’s recovery efforts, the site Weed.Recovers.org has been adopted by the local organizations and government, serving as the central, online hub where residents can offer and request help.

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After every emergency (fire, hurricane, terrorist attack, etc.), there will be in-kind donations such as clothing, food, and supplies. Without an effective donation management system, making efficient use of these items becomes a logistical nightmare. And, unfortunately, a warehouse full of unused clothing and supplies is an all too common scene in disaster recovery.

 

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Moore Donations Map

Click or see below for an interactive map.

One of our goals here at Recovers is to help communities be more prepared for disasters by learning from our data and sharing that knowledge with the rest of the world. This past year, our software was used to help the recovery efforts in Moore, OK, after the EF-5 tornado ripped through the town on May 20, 2013.

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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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(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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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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Waldo Canyon Fire Photo 6-23-2012

Waldo Canyon Fire photo by @kittlent 

“If you are available to do so, can you come into the joint info center for a bit to help me with few SM (social media) issues.”

Those words called me in for a five-day stint as the official Twitter voice for the Waldo Canyon Fire recovery effort, the most destructive fire in Colorado history, in late June 2012.

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I work for a civic technology startup in San Francisco, but I’m a small-town native who works daily with small to mid-sized communities. As such, when I read or hear about the latest “answer” to civic problems, created by a team of geniuses and piloted in one of the largest cities in the country, I’m a little wary.

While shining examples of city use of technology like San Francisco and New York City are well worth profiling and learning from, if their solutions don’t fit a town of 9,000 the problem has not yet been truly solved. Small communities need solutions too.

Presenting: Things I have overheard in Big Cities

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