CAC News

2019 Deployment: Tropical Storm Imelda

Cleaning Up the Chaos

Driving through the flatlands just north of Beaumont, Texas, a lone volunteer behind the wheel of a pickup hauling a horse trailer loaded with supplies caught some of the first glimpses of how eye-opening Imelda really was.

“People were not prepared,” said CAC volunteer Daniel Jarvis, who made one of four emergency supply drops during the deployment. “It was remarkable. They’ve been flooded multiple times in the last couple of years and yet… there was no one on the ground who had a good grasp of ‘this is what needs to happen, this is how we need to go about it.’ ’”

Jarvis noticed stockpiles of furniture outside of homes, some people actively moving belongings, and others still reeling in the wake of Tropical Storm Imelda. As a volunteer for Citizens Assisting Citizens, Jarvis answered the call to get boots on the ground for the aid efforts along with two other new CAC volunteers, Triple Kocurek and Micky Frank. Each made critical deliveries for an entire community all but forgotten by mainstream media.

Jarvis wasn’t alone in his journey. Behind the scenes, Citizens Assisting Citizens volunteers watched closely and cleared his path. As Jarvis collected supplies for the trip from Houston, many people asked why he was buying so many cleaning supplies and buckets. Since the storm didn’t hit the Houston area as bad, few were aware of the need just a few miles away. “It’s like a lot of things: I guess, if it doesn’t affect you or someone you know, you just don’t care,” he said.

Some areas of SE Texas were barely impacted, but other areas were hit hard. Imelda’s slow-moving, yet heavy downpour proved the fourth wettest tropical storm on record in Texas, second only to Hurricane Harvey, within the last four decades. While the high winds dropped quickly upon landfall, the storm still brought an extreme amount of rain very quickly. Imelda dumped 43.15” of precipitation – 10” higher than the average countertop – within 36 hours in some areas. The Beaumont, TX region was hit the hardest.

However, with few options for photo ops, the event received little coverage compared to Hurricane Harvey back in 2017. The slow, steady impact of the storm and lack of media coverage submerged the damage reports. Five deaths were reported, and property damages are anticipated at nearly $1 billion or more – the greatest economic loss sustained from natural disasters in mainland United States to date for 2019. It was an epic deluge.

Prior to the event, CAC kept a close eye on the storm. It had the potential to be a sleeper storm and was right on the heels of Hurricane Dorian in the Gulf of Mexico, an already intense time for the CAC Intel Team and senior CAC leaders. As Imelda made landfall and got downgraded to a tropical storm, the question of deploying volunteers was yet to be confirmed.

“Our ability to act relies on national and local Intel, financial resources, and the availability of both remote and local Volunteers. Without those 3 pieces in place, actions would not be possible OR safe.” Said Joshua Sloan, who assisted in the CAC Imelda Deployment. “Luckily, because of our Donors, and strict fiscal discipline, the finance piece was figured out before the storm. It was a known variable.”

CAC is not the kind of organization that just writes a check and walks away. In order to deploy, CAC’s mission requires local involvement, from local volunteers. Word went out quickly by email and phone to rally support on the ground.

“Because of prior volunteer contact lists from Hurricanes Harvey, Florence and Michael, we had most all of our remote Volunteer Team assembled prior to the storm. Only the local and regional contacts had to be made and coordinated. And we had to make sure they could operate safely.” Sloan said.

According to Erin Martin, Executive Director, CAC was prepared to spend a minimum of $8,500 prior to the Deployment.

“We know before a Deployment how much budget we can spend, but we also add to that any new donations that come in during the Deployment and its missions,” said Martin. “The success of our first-ever pledge drive in 2019, ensured that we had the funds available to act quickly.”

Damage Report

When reports from intel on the ground started to roll in, the team realized how much damage had really occurred. On Sept. 20, CAC volunteers received an activation alert to be ready for deployment and coordination efforts. The team secured a quick $500 for an initial supply drop, then began coordinating additional drop locations while rallying support on the ground.

“The hurt here is very significant,” said Vernon Pierce, of the Jefferson County Long-Term Recovery team. “FEMA has counted 5,448 homes in the county who received water, many of these homes were also flooded during Harvey.”

Local churches and distribution points had plenty of food and clothing supplies – but lacked the supplies desperately needed by the communities impacted during the storm. Low-lying stagnant ponds and fields contaminated with chemicals and animal waste combined with rising water levels and pushed contaminants inside homes, creating a major sanitation risk. An immediate need for cleanup kits surfaced as floodwaters receded.

Behind the scenes, Citizens Assisting Citizens volunteers from around the country started loading up virtual shopping carts with components for clean-up kits and additional supplies such as box fans, push brooms and scoop shovels. Meanwhile, a few key volunteers were ready to roll in Texas and Louisiana to help gather supplies on the ground and make the much-needed deliveries a reality. Logistic team volunteers with CAC had eyes in the sky and routed travel away from one main route on I-10 because of a road closure related to a bridge damaged by a barge that had broken loose and caused significant damage.

Bringing it Home

CAC supply drops became an immediate help for local residents. The multiple drops at multiple locations served communities surrounding the Beaumont area. These included the Winnie Chrysler-Dodge Dealership, Fannett Fire Department, Nome Fire Department, and First Christian Church in Beaumont.

With the help of the Jefferson County Long Term Recovery Center, Director Vernon Pierce, CAC’s drops proved to be some of the first supplies available to victims of the storm. CAC volunteers were able to provide aid where entities like FEMA, the Salvation Army, the National Guard and the Red Cross were still mounting response efforts or waiting on federal storm declaration approvals to mobilize.

In all, several CAC volunteers from Texas and Louisiana made four different supply runs. The first was to get supplies into a small community in Winnie, TX, where the sheriff’s department shut down access to the public long before a national emergency was declared. A few nearby areas less affected set up informal supply locations on the outskirts of communities hit the hardest. One such location was Beach City, TX. The locals there knew all the backroads and were  able to get past barricades. This is where Citizens Assisting Citizens made its first local distribution contact, a car dealer in Winnie, Texas.

The First Wave

Triple Kocurek, a long-time CAC volunteer who was working a few miles north of the affected region, took Tuesday afternoon off of work to lend a hand and get an initial round of supplies to a small community in Winnie, TX. With the help of a few locals and Winnie Chrysler-Dodge, a car lot which had become a regional drop point, he was able to get much needed supplies into the hands of the owners of the auto dealership who lived in Beach City, TX. This was his first CAC supply drop. Affected residents were receiving local aid from this dealership very early on. “There was nothing out there,” said Kocurek. “No Federal or State agencies. It was all local small local groups pulling together.”

Kocurek said locals were ecstatic to receive the aid and they banded together to combine food and resources until additional support arrived. CAC was able to provide 12 complete cleanup kits and several box fans for the community of about 50 homes in the region during the first run.

Looking back on the event, Kocurek emphasized the importance of stepping up as a volunteer when neighbors are in need. Kocurek understood the mission and vision of Citizens Assisting Citizens.

“If nobody volunteers, then who’s going to show up when you need help?” he said. “That’s something that everybody forgets about.”

The Second Wave

By Wednesday, almost a week after the storm made landfall, much of the floodwaters pulled back and signs of repairs were underway. However, the bulk of Federal aid was yet to be seen. Daniel Jarvis signed up as a CAC volunteer to help out, took the day off of work and got behind the wheel to deliver goods more than 60 miles away from his own home. He noticed several homes with contractor bags of flood waste and cabinets or furniture staged outside homes as he drove with his delivery of 50 additional cleanup kits.

When he arrived at his destination in Nome, 42 buckets rushed out the door within the first two hours, and the remaining supplies were gone by 9 a.m. the next morning.

“Everyone in town was waiting for that help to arrive,” said Cindy Hood, Alderman with the Nome, TX City Council. “We are so appreciative for organizations like you. What a blessing you were to the community.”

By the end of the second shop-and-drop deployment, it became clear that more help would be needed. A stretch funding goal of $1,500 allowed for additional supplies and additional mobilizations by CAC volunteers.

The Last Push

“With a rallying cry by our Social Media Team, we were able to add an additional $1,500 to our Deployment budget,” said Erin Martin. This allowed CAC to do its 4th and final emergency supply drop.

Soon after the drop in Nome, stretch goal funding brought the total aid funds to $10,000 which allowed for a third emergency supply drop by Louisiana CAC volunteer Micky Franks on the 26th, where he recruited a neighbor, and a fourth supply drop on the 27th where he was aided by his wife, son and the family dog. By the time CAC volunteers made their third run, National Guard troops were just beginning to hand out food and water rations to residents in Beaumont.

Generous donations and merchant discount from Texas big box hardware stores, allowed CAC volunteers to gather materials and provide cleanup kits and extra cleanup equipment for more than 250 families. This aid was distributed by carefully chosen distribution partners on the ground.

“You guys were fantastic,” Said Vernon Pierce from the Jefferson County Long-Term Recovery team. “Your donation meant a lot for a lot of people.”

By the Numbers:

Volunteer Hours tracked 428 hours between 9.15.19 and 9.30.19

~$800 merchant discounts
250 emergency cleaning kits
25 fans delivered
25 Scoop shovels
250 families served
5 Days pre-planning
4 Coordinated supply drop missions
4 Active delivery days
$9,000+ dollars spent
18 Active volunteers (Remote + Local)
12 New volunteers
1000+ social media reach

Post-Flooding Preparedness:

CAC volunteers are always needed behind the scenes to help support efforts year-round. If you’d like to join as a volunteer, sign up now, or lend your support through a donation! Regardless of your location, it’s critical that every citizen takes preparedness in their own hands.

“Our vision as an organization is that everyone will be prepared for whatever. And there’s a huge amount of work to be done for that,” [Bryan Caldwell]

The greatest needs during this deployment were volunteer boots on the ground, and clean-up kits. You can take action by being more prepared or volunteering to help others in need. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes or flooding, be sure to keep a clean-up kit on hand like the ones distributed during Imelda by CAC Team Volunteers!

Build Your Own Clean-Up Kit For Flood Aftermath Cleanup:

  • 5-Gallon Bucket (With Lid)
  • Pine Sol
  • Sponges
  • Scrub brushes
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Contractor Grade Trash Bags
  • Nitrile-dipped Work Gloves
  • Handi-Wipes
  • 28-oz. Dishwashing Liquid
  • Disposable ¼-Face Masks
  • Bleach

While every disaster is different, during Imelda supplies were acquired in a 100 mile radius and hand delivered to drop points. However, for organizations and individuals who want to create their own cleaning kits, you can read about the CAC team’s Amazon Disaster Supply shopping lists here.

Special Thanks:

Jefferson County Long Term Recovery Center
Winnie Chrysler-Dodge Dealership
Fannett Fire Department
Nome Fire Department
First Christian Church in Beaumont.

Imelda Fact Resource/reference links:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/09/19/texas-flooding-storm-imelda-hits-winnie-beaumont-dangerous-rain/2372220001/

https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/video/imelda-causes-flood-catastrophe-in-beaumont-texas

https://www.click2houston.com/weather/where-does-tropical-storm-imelda-rank-in-the-record-books

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_Storm_Imelda

http://thoughtleadership.aonbenfield.com//Documents/20191009_analytics-if-september-global-recap.pdf

Imelda Photo Gallery

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Imelda Flooding Activation Notice

ACTIVATION ALERT – This is to inform you that we have begun to deploy financial and volunteer resources in response to the flooding from Imelda.

To avoid confusion, here are some terms you are likely to hear from Citizens Assisting Citizens.

Activation = BE READY, BE PREPARED, in case you can help! We are in Activation mode right now. What can yo do?

  1. Sign up as a General Volunteer, then pick specific activities you think you can help with, For example there are several activities that can be done remotely. If you have already have a created a profile in our volunteer portal, you should look through open positions and activities which interest you. Some activities are local on-the-ground, others are remote. https://www.cacteam.com/cac-volunteer-signup/
  2. Watch your email inbox and listen for phone calls we might make to you. If you are near the affected area, we’ll want to know if you are OK and see if you need help or can be a helper.
  3. Share any resources on CACteam.com as these are public. They can be accessed and shared by anyone to anyone, whether they are involved with CAC or not.  https://www.cacteam.com/relief-resources/state-emergency-resources/
  4. Follow us on Social Media and Share and like stories which are posted.
  5. Donate. https://www.cacteam.com/donations/

Deployment = Deployment happens when we know that we:

  • have both human and physical resources, and the
  • safe locations for these resources to be stored and distributed from during our activities – AND
  • identified locations we believe we can safely deliver aid to.

Stand Down = When an Activation or Deployment comes to an end.

Although this Activation Alert is no guarantee that we will be able to deploy, it allows us to begin preparing personnel, finances, intel and physical assets we know we will need.

Thanks for your past and future help – YOU make everything we do possible.

 

Sincerely,
Erin Martin, Executive Director
& The Entire CAC Team

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A Token of Appreciation…

When the Chips were Down for Others, You Stood Up!

As a token of our appreciation, CAC has created custom Deployment Tokens (clay poker chips). We are sending these to those volunteers who were able to help in our last 3 Deployments (Harvey, Florence, Michael).  These volunteers lent a hand in various roles, both local and remote.  When the chips were down for others, these volunteers took time out of their own lives to help others. And that’s the real deal. We’re willing to bet that these commemorative Deployment Tokens will serve as a reminder of the lives they touched in a time of crisis. To all our volunteers, THANK YOU.

Recipients should receive their tokens of appreciation before Christmas. We look forward to this ongoing tradition!

Not yet volunteered? Ready to go all-in?  Volunteer Here.

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2018 Deployment: Hurricane Michael

SUMMARY

Active from: Oct 10 To Oct 28
Areas of activity: Freeport, Niceville and surrounding areas in Florida’s panhandle
Partner organizations: Generations United Church in Niceville, FL, Grace Lutheran of Surgis, MI, HopePanhandle.org
Deployment activities: Hygiene kits, cleaning kits, ice and fuel for ATVs running supplies from Generations Church to scattered and rural homes in need
Amount spent: $6,492.32

Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach in the Florida Panhandle late in the afternoon of Wednesday October 10, 2018 as a Category 4 Hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 155 MPH.  It was the strongest storm to make landfall in the continental U.S since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Michael claimed the lives of 36 people, 26 of them in Florida and caused billions of dollars in damages across Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina.

Despite our depleted financial resources after our deployment to assist with Hurricane Florence, our CAC team began organizing our response to the storm on the evening of October 10, 2018.  Our first action was to send an email to everyone in our mailing list informing them that we were activating for a response and reminding everyone how to donate, sign up to volunteer or follow our efforts on Zello. Our remote volunteers then began working the phones, calling our Volunteer and Safe Haven sign ups in the surrounding area to see what they could do to assist.

We found our Safe Haven, which turned into a secure storage and staging area for supplies, at the home of Molly and Dave Davis. The Davis’ were just outside of the affected area and had many contacts within the community and were aware of many who needed assistance.  Our remote Volunteers went back to the phones to find areas of need which we might be able to service. Using lists created by our remote Tech Team, our Volunteers called numerous churches in the area to find out where we could help. Only ONE call was returned. Pastor Phil Daniels of Generations United Church in Niceville, FL responded to let us know that they were organizing supply runs into the area for the coming week and could use whatever assistance we could provide. As often happens during our relief efforts, our Safe Haven Volunteers knew this church well, both the Pastor and many of the church members. In the end, though we had found some additional drop-off points, this one partner turned out to be ideal for us. They were serving the areas not serviced by FEMA and the Red Cross and were going into areas that our limited number of volunteers could not reach as easily.

We now had our mission and put our remote Volunteers to work organizing supply orders. On our limited budget of $5,000, plus whatever additional donations flowed in while we were active (approximately $2,600 came in), we ordered and shipped to our staging area, enough supplies to produce 144 Hygiene Kits, 288 Meals and 35 Cleaning Kits as well as baby supplies (food, wipes, diapers etc.) and feminine hygiene products. The Davis’ organized a “Kittogether” party and pulled together local friends to help organize the supplies and prepare the kits for distribution. Some of those supplies were retained for “hyper-local” use by our Volunteers, and the remaining were provided to Generations United Church for direct distribution. The Church organized a group of 30 plus volunteers on 4-wheelers, that we dubbed the 4-Wheeler Brigade to ferry the supplies out to people in the rural areas whose roads or driveways were unpassable. CAC gladly provided $500 in Gift Cards for gasoline to support this ongoing effort.

The Davis’s also referred Denise Lassiter, a chainsaw workaholic who assisted the Davis’s in the Southport area with getting trees cut so people could leave their property. Denise was constantly helping people because her work had closed due to storm damage. Denise then provided us with information about an elderly couple in Calloway who needed a Wellness Check. Denise also continued to provided some excellent on the ground intel and updates to us.

Geralbin “JJ” Vinas, his partner and father were a small team from Tampa who started driving to Panama City before he even knew about CAC. A friend (a listener of The Survival Podcast), suggested he hook up with CAC, and he found us on our CAC Team Zello Channel. Luckily, we had our Safe Haven picked out! Team JJ was able to do some reconnaissance and with CAC’s help purchased a couple bags of groceries to deliver to the elderly couple in Calloway. Their team was only able to help for 2 days, but their presence was appreciated and they were so happy to have had the experience and to increase their awareness of the value of preparedness.

So Molly led us to Denise, who led us to her good friend Krista Youngberg. Krista had already started to organize her neighbors to provide free food tents in Youngstown, FL. Another one woman dynamo with great social capital. There was not a lot we could do, but we knew we wanted to be a part of Team Krista’s activities. We were able to help with the acquisition of enough ice to fill 40 coolers and some additional funds to help with misc. food tent items. Team Krista was able to feed over 2,000 people during several separate Free Food days.

Molly led us to Denise, Denise led us to Krista, and finally, Krista led us to another powerhouse of a volunteer, Peggy Davis (no relation to Molly and Dave) who also lived nearby Krista and Molly. From Peg, we learned that in her hometown of Sturgis, MI, the Grace Lutheran Church was gathering donations to fill a U-Haul truck to ship supplies into the area – even before they had a secure storage and drop off location. CAC had that covered! So one of our remote workers made direct contact to let them know we could secure and distribute any items they collected. Additionally, CAC had shared supply needs reports to Peg who gave them to the church, so the goods they sent down were excellent and appropriate. But that is not where the synchronicity stopped.

Our remote phone volunteers once again went to work, to contact our people in and around Michigan and unbelievably we found that we had a Volunteer named David Mosher, who LIVES in Sturgis, MI. Weird right? We reached out to him and he was happy to help. He also recruited a couple of buddies to help with the shopping and delivery of goods to the church. We provided David with a budget, and he and his friends went out and purchased additional supplies to help fill the truck. We arranged for the supplies to be delivered to our staging area, where local volunteers came together again to organize those supplies (Kittogether #2!) for distribution.

Peg, also had a contact at Magna Manufacturing, makers of the Loboy heavy-duty styrofoam coolers. After CAC spoke with the employee Kenny Watkins, we were able to get a donation of 198 styrofoam coolers (an important item in an area with no power!) and dozens of foam cushions which they could not use, but which could make great seat cushions or pillows to those in tents or trailers.

Kittogether #3 on 11/2/18 created 72 more cleaning kits, 47 more hygiene kits and 36 ladies purse/supplies kits were made. Purse kits? Yes. Peg and Molly got locals to donate over 30 ladies handbags into which they will be placing feminine products and items. The supplies from Sturgis, MI contained numerous purses, makeup and feminine supplies. They were a huge hit when given to female storm victims.

Additional food support activities were planned by “Team Krista” and Peg did another Kittogether where 163 MORE donated purses were filled by Peg, Molly and their local friends. These were primarily distributed by Hopepanhandle.org

There are so many more details, and too many people to thank, but a few other notable events include :

-Tina Allred helped make contact with LDS Stake Center in Panama City. Though we were not able to make deliveries this deep into the affected area, but volunteer Denise and JJ did do some reconnaissance around that area.

Bradley from Niceville Christian Church connected us with Randy at Tri-State Christian Camp in Defuniak Springs, a 100 bed camp.  Randy offered the camp as a Safe Haven for any Volunteers traveling into the area. We ended up not needing this, but it was a beautiful gesture!

A hotel in Defuniak Springs and one in Destin, FL both donated linens. Our local teams were able to coordinate picking them up and getting them to our storage area in Freeport and from there to our distribution partner at Generations United.

As absolutely amazing as our local volunteers and their friends were, there were several behind the scenes  accomplishments as well (forgive if I have forgotten any!).

  • A few new onboarding/training documents were created and shared via our website.
  • The Tech/Logisitics Team worked on managing forms, form submissions and new Intel gathering and mapping techniques. In fact, several Hurricane Resource Maps were created and shared publicly that got almost 160,000 views! See blog post: https://www.cacteam.com/hurricane-michael-cac-experimental-maps-catch-on/
  • Zello remained an effective communication tool during this deployment. Glympse was not as useful, only because we 1.) had mostly locals who knew the area fully, and b.) there were many areas without cell signal.
  • The photos submitted by volunteers were sent to photos@cacteam.com (which also forwards to social@cacteam.com) for use on our website and social media.
  • Social media updates seemed to go smoothly led primarily by a volunteer in Scotland!
  • Phone calls to identify volunteers and hotel/restaurant resources were done by a few volunteers.
  • Moderation of the Zello channel became more streamlined, meaning fewer people were needed to manage that communications channel.

Additionally, the CAC Finance Team gave regular updates on budget progress, and contacted every single  donor to acknowledge their donation. They also made sure the Magna Mfg. obtained and In Kind Donation acknowledgement for their tax records as well.

A big efficiency win with this deployment was the use of Amazon.com. How did it happen? Read Here!

The lists of supplies CAC ordered was made public and shared so that other individuals and organizations could duplicate what we did – at any time! Mostly Prime products with fast free shipping, with decent reviews. Most were items used in previous deployments, or recommended during specific types/phases of this disaster. We openly shared the costs for these items on the Resources->Volunteer Resources area of our website so as to also inspire others who were not sure what could be useful during or after a natural disaster.

CAC Amazon.com Emergency Relief Supply Lists

Using Amazon meant less time spent by volunteers running around to find rapidly diminishing supplies and less time spent collecting receipts – a better use of time and money! Shipping in resources to the volunteers may prove to be a repeatable and efficient process for future deployments as well if conditions to do so exist.

The simple purchase authorization tracking sheet and and the reimbursement process, implemented during Hurricane Florence on the website was used to control expenses and improve budget tracking. The total deployment budget was updated daily, sometimes several times per day. Altogether, this was probably one of the smoothest deployments ever in terms of bookkeeping and accountability.

As with each Activation and Deployment, we always identify areas of success and areas where improvements are needed. Some areas of improvement we will be trying to address include:

  1. Intel gathering & funnelling at different mission stages should be streamlined
  2. “Chain of command” process still needs some improvement (job descriptions and organizational flow chart should be forthcoming.)
  3. Mission Logging and Data Display – notes that other crisis coordinators need to see and share.
  4. Volunteer management and onboarding (training)

So much true good was done. So many people local and non-local were inspired and helped than we could ever properly detail or thank. Regardless, we made the most with what we had and filled our core mission of empowering ordinary citizens to assist each other. This would not have been possible without donors and volunteers and partners of all types.

See All Hurricane Michael Photos Click Here.

 

 

Additional References:

http://www.sturgisjournal.com/news/20181022/additional-donations-sought-for-hurricane-area-residents

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2018 Deployment: Hurricane Florence

SUMMARY

Active from: Sept 8 to approx Sept 22
Areas of activity: Durham, Fayettesville, Clinton, Warsaw, Beulaville, Pollocksville and Chinquapin
Partner organizations: Cisco, City of Beulaville mayor, NC Baptists on Mission (Richard Weeks in Warsaw)
Deployment activities: Supplying hygiene kits, hotel linens, food, water, baby supplies, elder care supplies and cleaning kits
Amount spent: $14,745.22

Florence was our first major activation since Harvey in TX. Landfall was Wilmington, NC and due to the track it took and lack of volunteers able to deploy we weren’t able to get close to Wilmington with the exception of one volunteer who lived in Wilmington. We weren’t able to support him as we couldn’t get supplies in but he was a on the ground advising us of the area an conditions.

One  Survival Podcast listener, Michelle, works at Cisco and sent out an email to several Cisconians (a terms of endearment for employees of Cisco who assisted that I pulled from the Cisco website). One of those was Bethany Duffrin. Bethany then sent another email to even more people on her team and together they had many people who stated they were interested in volunteering.

Cisco is located in Durham and due to their number of hands, availability of supplies and distance from damage they immediately became our hub of operations. Bethany, being skilled in logistics, planning and exceedingly frugal, became our primary point of contact for almost all of our efforts in NC. She ensured that money was stretched as far as she could and coordinated supply pickups from many stores with many people and was an incredible asset for us.

Supplies were run from Durham to all or almost all of our partner organizations in several cities. This required volunteers driving, in some cases,  more than 2 hours to deliver supplies to the organization or city in need. An adult day care center was fully stocked with supplies., as were a shelter in Clinton and a church in Warsaw. We also sent supplies into other areas with incredible need.

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Hurricane Michael – CAC Experimental Maps Catch On

I have been thinking for many years about the importance of geo-spatial asset and threat mapping. Why? Because when there is an emergency, you can’t always count on having local contacts with 1st level knowledge of the situation or geography. When moving people or goods from afar, having some reference points (and their positions relevant to each other), as well as easy contact information, can be potentially life saving. So as a test, while learning about Google Crisis Maps, I stumbled upon Google My Maps, specifically custom Google May Maps. So I create 3 of them as an experiment. I thought maybe a few dozen CAC involved people might view them. I was wrong. The maps got over 150,000 views in less than 3 weeks.

Now I’ll probably never meet any of the people who saw these maps. I really have no idea why they were viewing them. But I’d like to believe that maybe, just maybe, this CAC experiment resulted in some small real-world help to real people. Completely unintentionally. Maybe they were displaced hurricane victims, volunteers/aid groups coming from out of town or out of state to help, or maybe a locals were running from store to store looking supplies or fuel. I’ll never know. But my journey with mapping tech to support Citizens Assisting Citizens is about to get kicked up a notch based on this experiment and a few others.

-Joshua Sloan

Here are the custom maps themselves:

Hurricane Michael Churches
32,717 views

Hurricane Michael Fuel Stations
61,646 views

Hurricane Michael Shopping & Resupply
63,816 views

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Hurricane Relief Efforts in Texas Underway.

There are several vehicles, and CAC volunteers actively assisting in relief efforts. So far the teams have already delivered many supplies and done roadside assistance. One of the teams is moving even closer to Houston today, other efforts will be to the west and south west of Houston. We will be updating the team’s Facebook page when possible at https://www.facebook.com/CitizensAssistingCitizens/. You generous contributions are still needed. Click HERE to donate.

Want to provide physical support? Volunteer Application

For other communications during this busy time, please like comments on our Facebook page. Thank you!

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