Sunday, January 24, 2016

The National Mass Care Strategy Website

One of the (many) cool things about my job at Red Cross National Headquarters is that they gave me my own website to play around in. Technically, the National Mass Care Strategy website is not mine but I’m going to take ownership of it anyway.

When I was the State Mass Care Coordinator in Florida I considered the State ESF #6, Mass Care website to be mine. I wrote or helped to write most of the documents posted there. I got to decide what documents were posted, how they were grouped and I even got to decide the names of the groups under which they were posted. Whenever anyone asked me a technical question I would tell them to go to my website and pull down a particular document in which they would find the answer.

When my friend Beth Boyd was managing the NMCS site at National Headquarters we had a friendly rivalry as to which web site was the BEST mass care web site in the country. Of course, I thought the Florida site was the best and Beth thought the NMCS website was the best. I still think that the Florida site has better content.

But now that I have the National Mass Care Strategy power I’m going to fix that.

When I left the State of Florida I copied all of my working files (6 GB) to the iCloud and this is now a reference library for me and I can share some of that data with the rest of the country. For example, I have all the shelter and meal count data that the state (me) collected from the voluntary agencies during the 2004-05 hurricanes. I did a lot of subsequent analysis of this data and I should be able to make this information available in documents on the NMCS website.

This may take some time because the Red Cross has me working on other projects than the website, but I’ll poke along at it. My first step will be to move all the good content on the Florida site over to the NMCS web. If a lot of this content is Florida specific, well, hey, I’ll work on fixing that, too. I’ll solicit good documents from my friends in the mass care community nationwide.

What kind of documents am I looking for? I believe that people want to see jurisdiction (not agency) feeding plans and shelter plans. The Feeding Template and the Shelter Template are good documents but if you have the task to write a feeding plan for your state (like Colorado just did) you want to look at examples of how other states did it. The same would hold with a shelter plan. And instead of having to dig through state websites looking to see if they even have a shelter plan, it would be better to know that everything available is collected at one central location.

Another thing I will be looking for are good examples of mass care plans at the local or municipal level. A big problem in particular is information geared to local emergency managers focused on the process of transitioning survivors from shelters to appropriate housing. Does anyone have anything written on that? Procedures, plans, after-action, reports? Let me know and we’ll put them up.

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