Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Safe & Well in Troubled Times

National Public Radio broadcast one of those riveting stories they do so well, in part from a disaster shelter where the Safe and Well system was being used to reconnect friends and family.  With more than 100 tornados across the nation these past few days, there are many people looking to find news about their loved ones.  It's a short 4 minute story, listen here.

We are proud to deploy the Safe & Well solution for the American Red Cross, and to have supported rapidly increasing levels of traffic during these tragic storms.   Safe and Well is importantly different from other lost person registries in that basic information is required to search for news about a friend or a relative.  In this way individuals and families can reconnect with one another, while not releasing private information to the curious.  It is a good blend of easy to use, useful, and respectfully private.

If you need to register or search for someone, go to Safe and Well.  If you are using a mobile phone, the site will automatically direct you to our mobile site.

If you need information about sheltering, you can download our free iPhone App which we contributed to the Red Cross.  Every open shelter is located on a map, and you can easily zoom in for details, directions, and other useful information.

Disaster Sheltering, Basement of the Hyatt

And in a surreal connection to the storms around us, while at the annual conference of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, we found ourselves in the disaster shelter of the hotel as a tornado warning activated for Kansas City.





Dr. W. Douglas Zimmerman
President & CEO
VisionLink





Voluntary Organizations Active In Disaster

Writing from the national conference of the National Voluntary Organizations Active In Disaster (NVOAD).

Particularly in this season of storms, the resources and efforts of the NVOAD Members are truly extraordinary, and as they activate and keep working past the initial news cycle for any specific disaster, they are not as well known as they deserve to be.

The Salvation Army, as an example, has served 100,000's of meals, the Red Cross has opened hundreds of shelters and provided 10,000's of overnight stays for victims of the floods and tornados.

Feeding America has delivered more than a hundred truckloads of food and other grocery items. The Coordinated Assistance Network is supporting integrated, multi-agency client services for thousands of disaster survivors.

And these are but a few examples from the voluntary sector. Americans need to continue, and expand, their gifts of time, talent, and dollars to support the work of these and many others. Working together we all work better.


Dr. W. Douglas Zimmerman
President & CEO
VisionLink, Inc.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Southeast Tornados: Staying Focused

We extend our thoughts and prayers to the many injured and to those who lost friends and families in the tornados this past week across the Southeast.

It is important to focus on these communities now, particularly as the news cycle moves to other news.  It will take months for these communities to recover, so long-term focus and attention will be important.  Relief agencies such as the American Red Cross are responding with significant resources.  They depend on donations, which you can contribute here.  The National Voluntary Agencies Active in Disaster have engaged (and we are standing up a site for their work in Alabama), as are the members of the Coordinated Assistance Network. We are proud to support technology for each of these relief networks.

Friends and family can find one another at Safe and Well, and can check the status of local shelters here.  In addition, iPhone users can download the free App, Shelter View, for shelter location maps, and shelter status and availability.

An event of this magnitude reaches out to many.  In fact, the nephew of one of our senior staff lost his home; it's as if the house was never there.  While injured, he is going to be okay.  This car is where the den used to be in the house, and at the left edge cars are falling into the basement.

Storms remind us of the power of natural forces, and that only through collaborative efforts can communities regain their foothold after disasters and work to increase their resilience in advance.





Dr. W. Douglas Zimmerman
President & CEO
VisionLink, Inc.