This Halloween is shaping up to be a lot spookier for those on the East Coast. If you’re following the latest NOAA hurricane trackers, Hurricane Sandy is indeed turning inland and will affect several states along the Eastern seaboard, including Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Several large cities, including Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston and even New York City are bracing for the impact and even evacuating low laying that are expected to experience strong storm surges.
What makes this storm so unique is the timing. A Nor’easter, also known as a low pressure system, is coming through the Northeast and is expected to collide with Hurricane Sandy to create a “Frankenstorm”. A perfect storm blend that will lead to an enormous amount of rain, swells, flooding, high winds, and much more.
To aid in preparation and cleanup efforts, PublicStuff, the innovative web and mobile based public service request management system that built Philadelphia’s successful Philly311 mobile app, is donating its services to communities in the storms path. Using PublicStuff’s web and mobile platforms, residents will be able to report non-emergency service requests like roadblocks, debris and overflowing storm drains, directly to city officials to have the request dealt with. City staff will also be able to use the mobile tools and geo-locating technology to document damage, address the issues being reported and expedite federal aid.
PublicStuff is also donating access to the backend workflow suite to local governments that are in the path of Hurricane Sandy. The backend workflow suite will allow city staff to better manage and process publicly reported requests, as well as documented damage in an efficient, organized and swift manner. These agencies may also embed the web portal on their website so residents can submit damage and cleanup requests online directly through their respective city website. For residents without internet access, they may use their mobile phones to report issues, regardless of their wireless provider via text, tollfree or through the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Blackberry and Android PublicStuff applications.
Arming your residents with the appropriate tools as early as possible will make your cleanup efforts that much easier after a disaster strikes. Direct your residents to download the PublicStuff app and to use it to report non-emergency requests using your existing channels:
- Automated weather alert phone calls
- Your City’s Website
- Local media outlets as part of the hurricane preparedness directions (TV, Radio, NPR, and Newspapers)
- Social Channels such as Facebook and Twitter. Include a notice on your page directing residents to download the app and to utilize it during cleanup efforts. Continue to direct residents to utilize PublicStuff during continued storm updates.
In preparing for the storm, remind your residents to:
1) Download the PublicStuff app on their iPhone, Android or Blackberry device. They can also access PublicStuff to report service request issues online, via SMS text at 617-500-3111 and toll free number at 888-491-3119.
2) When they spot a non-emergency service request like down trees, flipped cars or overflowing storm drains, direct them to submit the service request through PublicStuff. Submitting the service request through PublicStuff will ensure that their request is heard and that the issue is on its way to being addressed.
3) Encourage residents to take pictures of service requests they are reporting. The photo documentation enabled by the PublicStuff platform will further help to document damage left by the storm and potentially help to expedite necessary federal aid.
4) Encourage residents to add comments to the service requests they are reporting and to share service requests with family, friends and neighbors so everyone stays informed on concerning areas.
Government agencies can take advantage of the donated workflow system immediately by registering at account.publicstuff.com/register and entering their city name or by emailing [email protected]. A PublicStuff representative will respond within 24 hours to setup the system and walk them through the process. To access any of the public services, please visit the following links:
Online Portal: www.publicstuff.com