Appallicious and OpenFEMA Launch Disaster Preparedness Dashboard


San Francisco-based Appallicious, a civic startup, is working with FEMA Labs and the OpenFEMA project to launch a disaster preparedness dashboard today at the White House. The dashboard will bring together all of the facets of emergency response into online, mobile, and hard copy disaster response applications. The Disaster Assessment and Assistance Dashboard (DAAD) will be powered by FEMA open data along with input from local residents for the dashboard in their city.

“There are over 120 datasets going into this project so far,” explains Yo Yoshida, Appallicious CEO, in an interview and demonstration for CivSource.

The project will be demonstrated today at the White House Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery Demo Day. DAAD is being launched as a pilot program for the City and County of San Francisco and its capabilities were also demonstrated for Washington, D.C. at the event.

“FEMA believes that by opening up government data, we can better support survivors and first responders as they look to prepare, protect, respond, recover and mitigate all hazards that affect their communities,” said FEMA CTO Ted Okada. “Through FEMA-sponsored data feeds we have worked to allow the whole community, including private sector companies, to create innovative services with disaster-related data.”

Essentially, users will be presented with maps of their locality overlaid with emergency response options ranging from fire departments,  to local residents who know CPR or have a defibrulator. “There are a lot of ways we can create a sharing economy with this application,” Yoshida adds. “Ahead of a disaster, you can look at the map overlays and see updated flood plain data for example. That can help municipalities as they work through planning say ‘ok maybe it’s not the best idea to put a fire department in the new floodplain.'”

Individual users can also sign up and share the training, equipment and resources that they have. “We’ve made this available online, it is also responsive for mobile, and individuals or organizations can print out hard copy disaster handbooks, plans and directions so the resource is available even if communications have been cut off,” Yoshida says.

The data included also provides information on disaster relief locations, status updates on roadways and bridges, information on hospitals, first response centers, cooling centers and other outreach points. Construction companies can list heavy machinery that could be used to clear debris in order to rescue survivors or clear roads for emergency services after a catastrophe, allowing a community to hire from within. Tradespersons can upload their certified skills to the dashboard to be pre-certified ahead of a disaster.

Late last year, Appallicious along with other civic technology leaders were asked to come to Washington to help develop tools and resources to empower local communities. From those initial discussions and collaboration, including a Safety Datapalooza and an #OpenFEMA Data Town Hall, came the foundation and overall goal of the new dashboard to keep communities whole post-disaster.

In the next two weeks, San Francisco residents and companies will be able to start submitting their own information on to a beta version of DAAD. Appallicious will be offering licensing options for the technology for other municipalities who wish to make a dashboard available to their residents.

The White House event will be streamed online today at 1:30pm ET: