[Guest Blog] Saving Lives with Open Source Software

Published 06-16-2020 05:54 PM 1,052 Views
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This post was written by MVP and RD Richard Campbell as part of our Humans of IT Guest Blogger series. In the article, Richard details how you can save lives through software, specifically with his new Two Weeks Ready smartphone app - a project led by the Humanitarian Toolbox nonprofit (HTBox).

 

I am part of the team that created Humanitarian Toolbox back in 2012 with the realization that software professionals want to contribute their skills to charity, but also to develop sustainable software. We know that software needs care and feeding, with regular maintenance, security improvements, patches, and compatibility with new hardware. The software we create has to live somewhere – and that’s what we created HTBox to do. Humanitarian Toolbox maintains an open-source repository on GitHub with a variety of projects to help with disaster response and preparedness. Two Weeks Ready is our latest project.


We all know that disaster preparedness is essential, making sure you have supplies of food, water, medicine, radios – and even more importantly, that your entire family knows where those supplies are, and what the family plan is.


The Two Weeks Ready application leverages the power of smartphones and cloud to help build good disaster preparedness plans, keep them up to date and make sure everyone in your family has the information they need during a disaster.

 

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For every natural disaster, the disaster response professionals tell us that we need to be able to take care of ourselves for up to two weeks. Those professionals provide excellent information on what you should have in your home, what you need to know about your home and community, and the kinds of plans you need to make as a family to be able to respond when disaster strikes.


The goal of the Two Weeks Ready application is to take that information and put it where it’s needed most – in the smartphones of you and your family. Features like checklists, expiration monitoring, and synchronization of data between the family smartphones mean you and your family will have the necessary information ready when it's needed most.


Whether the disaster is an earthquake, tsunami, tornadoes, hurricanes, or even a pandemic, there are things everyone needs to know – including where to get appropriate information from their local county, city, state, regional, and federal services.


Preparedness is just the beginning for Two Weeks Ready. When a disaster occurs, notifications go out to the users of the app that can provide some early warning, but most importantly, invoke the plan you’ve already created. And since that plan lives on your family’s smartphones, you don’t need a lot of bandwidth to get it – you already have it with you when you need it.


At Humanitarian Toolbox, we have been working closely with disaster response professionals to design Two Weeks Ready. Our project leaders are creating issues in GitHub at https://github.com/HTBox/TwoWeeksReady for features in development. If you see one that interests you, comment on the issue and get involved!


Architecturally, the smartphone side of the application is a progressive web app, and the backend components are written in C#, running in Azure.


More importantly, we can use your help - YOU can save lives with software too! Whether you’re a developer, designer, tester, or just want to try the app out for yourself, go to https://github.com/HTBox/TwoWeeksReady and discover ways you can get involved by giving back to the community through your tech skills today!

 

#HumansofIT

#TechforGood

 

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‎Jun 16 2020 05:55 PM
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