Red Cross Disaster Assessment teams are part of the first step in the recovery process. They visit neighborhoods and homes immediately after a disaster to assess and verify the level of damage incurred. The Red Cross and its partners—like FEMA and the United Way—use this information to provide financial aid and other resources. It often takes one to two weeks to visit to every home, gather and enter the information and distribute it to everyone who needs it to begin providing aid. It’s vital that this process is done to make sure families get the help they need and that donor and taxpayer dollars are used wisely.
After the record flooding that occurred in Louisiana, Disaster Assessment is being done in a new way—a way that will make it faster and easier. Disaster Assessment now has an application and Red Cross teams are using it to get help to clients in a matter of days, not weeks. Survey123 allows the teams to enter information on the spot—not fill out forms that then have to be entered into a system. And, in conjunction with the Red Cross’ RC VIEW Disaster Event Management System, real time mapping of areas affected allows service delivery to begin with days.
Sarah Perkins is a veteran Red Cross Disaster Assessment volunteer who’s worked on 45 disaster relief operations and is working with the new system in Baton Rouge. “I love it, it’s awesome”, says Sarah. “It will cut in half the time it takes us to complete the assessment and that means we can get help to our clients in days, not weeks.”
Here’s how it works. Step 1: The Red Cross Disaster Assessment team uses information gathered from various sources, including FEMA, NOAA, satellite pictures, local news reports and other sources, to map out the areas of the worst damage.
Step 2. Volunteer teams are sent out to verify the areas of damage and make corrections. Instead of visiting every address, which can take days, the team surveys the perimeter of the identified areas and verifies the level of damage
Step 3. With the updated information, a real time map is available in RC VIEW.
We can now use the real-time map to plan daily routes for mobile feeding and delivery of clean up supplies and along with our partners, we can begin providing aid and resources, so families can begin their recovery process. When someone needs help, the level of damage they sustained can be verified just by looking up their address and matching it to the map.
The Red Cross always works to give those affected by disaster all the help we can and this new system will let us deliver help even faster—as easy as 1-2-3.