- Posted October 26, 2012 by
San Antonio, Texas
Hurricane Sandy, A bright idea
Recalling the images of Japan and Katrina, you will find many things in common. People were on rooftops waving flags, marking walls, creating messages (SOS) out of sheets or anything available. People were trapped in cars or in between building rubble waving or moving around. All of this for one single purpose, to let someone know “I am alive”! “I am here”! “Please help”!!!!!!!
What can be done to empower citizens to signal where they are after the disaster has struck? Juan Cienfuegos is proposing a Personal Disaster Identification System that should be adopted by local, national and international emergency response organizations. This system would go into effect anytime any kind of warning, whether it be a tornado warning, a hurricane warning, a flashflood warning, a tsunami warning, etc… is issued, even when extended blackouts occur. The system works like this:
Whenever a warning goes into effect the un-evacuated citizens (especially disabled and elderly) of the affected area tag themselves with an illuminated display (Personal Light or cellular phone, search “Disaster ID” or “f-Ready” App ) so they can be seen when it gets dark and stick out like a sore thumb. Children would be marked and recognized by a solid red, women would be marked a solid green, and men would be marked solid blue just before the disaster strikes. First responders, many times your neighbors, now see the illuminated displays as indicators of human beings. The idea is that survivors and non-survivors can be more easily located once night-time falls, a time when most SAR activities are suspended and survivors pray for the daylight, in hopes of being noticed. Now this valuable time can be used by search and rescue personnel to search for lights and note areas where survivors are located. Neighbors now can signal neighbors/responders and convey their location, numbers, make up and condition. All responders have to do is send drones or helicopters to do flyovers or go to high ground and make note of light signal locations during the night to preplan first light rescue operations..
Survivors in need of assistance would indicate their status by switching the illuminated display (potentially cellular phone screens) to a flashing mode. If a survivor for some reason cannot switch the selection to a flashing selection they hopefully would be able to move the lights around and convey movement, indicating a weak or trapped survivor for days or weeks. Today’s LED and lithium battery technology allows for very long signaling times.
It is time to implement new and novel ideas that empowers and better prepares our citizens and First Responders to respond to the inevitable natural disasters that can strike at any time. Help them, help you! Contact Juan Cienfuegos at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments, issues, criticisms, obstacles, opinions, or personal stories of when a little light would have or has helped