In the wake of a disaster, communities come together to help organize, support and repair the damage. Many online tools assist with this effort including Twitter, Facebook, and Google. What if you could bring all of those online communities together in one place? That is what the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management’s (SFDEM) new project SF72.org is attempting to accomplish. Described as “San Francisco’s gathering place for emergency preparedness”, the project manifesto stresses connections over catastrophe.
The SF72 website aims to connect citizens willing to offer resources and services such as food, water, and a place to stay 72 hours after a disaster occurs. The SF72 platform would enable residents to preregister resources, supplies, and relevant skills, such as emergency first aid. Rather than searching by keyword or hashtag through multiple sites, people could log into this preexisting community and find offers of help organized by neighborhood.
The site is expected to offer a connection area for residents to connect and share resources as well as disaster preparedness videos and testimonials. During an emergency the site would switch over to live information feeds to focus on meeting immediate needs.
Research conducted by SFDEM revealed that communities with established social networks tend to be more resilient and facilitate citizen-to-citizen resource sharing.
SF72.org is being designed as an open source platform meaning any city in the country can borrow the concept and customize it further.
The website was given a soft launch in January, collecting user feedback, but the service is still in beta. SFDEM is currently looking for partnerships with foundations and the private sector to complete the rest of the project.