We need micro-volunteers who want to be part of our regular reporting network. In a developing disaster we are glad to have reports from anyone who can help.
The Virtual Emergency Operations Center provides disaster information support to voluntary organizations that respond to disasters. We staff our online facility with a volunteer Watch Officer whose job it is to monitor hazards and threats to the states served by the organizations we support. The Watch Officer normally focuses on events within those states. You can help us with early warning of events that have the potential to cross state borders and impact larger regions.
So what are we looking for? The one car-one telephone pole highway accident obviously is not going to generate a major disaster response; it is handled by the locality's normal emergency services. We are interested in events that (1) may cause impacts outside the immediate area, including in neighboring states or provinces, especially weather events that may track over a considerable area, (2) will require response by resources form multiple jurisdictions, (3) may extend for more than a day, and (4) will probably involve such organizations as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc. in providing disaster relief.
In the early stages of a disaster, information is hard to come by, may be contradictory, and may later be determined inaccurate. We appreciate your efforts to be as accurate as you can be with the information in front of you. Waiting for perfect information may be a long wait, so report as soon as you believe you have a reasonable idea of what is happening. Our job is to take your report as a first alert and gather more information as it becomes available over time.
How long will this take? The first time it may take 5 minutes to complete a report. With experience, the process gets faster. We have tried to simplify the process so that a quick click on a pull down menu records what we need.
What is the result of your volunteering? We get an early alert of a possible threat. Our Watch Officer can then gather more information and make an assessment of whether we need to start alerting our larger volunteer staff and the organizations we support. In disaster response early warning can have a major impact on how quickly voluntary organizations can respond. Your help can contribute directly to the success of our disaster relief efforts.
PLEASE READ CAREFULLY: We appreciate you as a micro-volunteer. However, we have three important rules that you must follow:
Rule 1 - If you are threatened by the effects of a disaster that is threatening or in progress, find a safe location or shelter before attempting to file a report. Do not risk your life, expose yourself to the possibility of injury, or expose your property to the possibility of damage or loss to file a report. Be very careful. We need information, but our need for information is in the hours time frame, not in minutes, and is absolutely secondary to your taking care of yourself and your property first.
Rule 2 - If you need rescue or help in a disaster or emergency do not file a report using this page. Immediately contact your community emergency services through the emergency number system in your area. We cannot dispatch help to you - the emergency services in your community do that, and we may not actually read your report for hours after you file it.
Rule 3 - Being a volunteer disaster observer for our organization does not authorize you to violate the laws of your jurisdiction. You have no more authority than any other citizen. Obey the instructions of emergency services personnel and follow the directions of any published disaster ordinances or other governmental directives.
We assume no liability, implied or stated, for bad outcomes if you violate any of these three commonsense rules that any reasonable person should be able to follow. Be safe first, call for help first, follow the law. If you are safe, you do not need help, and are not acting outside the scope of your role as an ordinary citizen, we will feel a lot better and will be glad to have your report.
Are you ready? Enter your Disaster Observer Spot Report.