The Crowd is FEMA’s Most Effective Tool in Innovation

photo curtest of Chris Zielecki via flickr

photo courtesy of Chris Zielecki via flickr

For nearly 4 decades the Federal Emergency Management Agency has fought to reduce the devastation brought on by disasters in the United States. From supply, organization, and training pre-emergency, to potential hazard monitoring and methods for relaying danger levels, to efficiently and effectively coping with the aftermath – FEMA strives to keep communities, nationwide safe.

“We fully recognize that a government-centric approach to emergency management is not enough to meet the challenges posed by a catastrophic incident,” establishes the principle behind FEMA’s Whole Community approach. Disasters on the level that FEMA handles require as much experience, knowledge, and manpower – as much help, as possible. That is why FEMA reaches out to citizens, organizations, and the global community of experts to focus and strengthen their efforts.

FEMA’s IdeaScale community is only one avenue through which the organization gains crowd insight, one way in which Whole Community, “reinforces the fact that FEMA is only one part of our nation’s emergency management team.” Broken down into 4 categories, FEMA is dedicated to providing community members with the best support possible.

1. Tech Corps: Disaster relief can be greatly benefitted by technological advancements. Focused on creating a network of skilled and trained tech volunteers, this portion of the community enlists the help of the crowd to fill the gaps in trainee knowledge.

2. Open FEMA: For FEMA, fostering open government means transparency, collaboration, and accountability. To stay innovative, FEMA asks the crowd, how their datasets can be used, or cultivated in the future to increase citizen participation, accessibility, and improve effectiveness.

3. FEMA Think Tank: By far the campaign with the highest level of ideation, this is where individuals and organizations provide suggestions on all manner of improvements to FEMA’s system. Participants have suggested preparedness training for young students, customizing FEMA training and hazard response regionally, and mobile apps that take advantage of GPS to aid victims in finding family, friends, and safety.

Do you have a suggestion? Join the dialogue here.

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