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White House Demos Tech at the Cutting Edge of Disaster Response

As history and research demonstrate, citizen survivors take action to help themselves and others to respond to and recover from disasters. To bolster the efforts of survivors and other first responders, the federal government is encouraging the development of apps and other tools that allow users to create personal emergency plans, receive emergency alerts, and access vital information such as evacuation routes and water distribution locations.

Lee addresses Demo Day audience, July 29, 2014.

The White House Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery Initiative Demo Day convened more than 1,500 technologists, entrepreneurs, and members of the disaster response community (in person and virtually) to showcase new disaster response tools.

Meredith Lee (2013-15 Executive Branch Fellow, Department of Homeland Security – DHS) gave a preview of – a pending resource for innovation in disaster response and recovery that features open data sets and tools to engage innovators. Fellowship mentor Stephen Dennis (DHS) and fellows Rebecca French (2011-12 Congressional and 2012-14 Executive Branch Fellow, Environmental Protection Agency – EPA) and Keely Maxwell (2012-14 Executive Branch Fellow, EPA) helped facilitate a technology showcase and hands-on workshops.

It was a productive day with more than 20 talks, a technology showcase, the announcement of 30+ commitments from the public and private sector, and six workshops on topics including predictive analytics, social media, and user-centered design for disaster response, recovery, and preparedness.