"In my 20s I would have out with friends and create a plan to "Survive the Zombie Apocalypse". It's not a realistic situation, but an effective exercise in preparing for emergency events that really do happen. Over the years I've supported friends and family create a #BugOutBag, or 72 hour bag, before hurricanes and wildfires. Modifying the resources available lead to me curating my own disaster prep list, which lead me to see the gaps in the resources most readily available. I'm new to coding and this project has been someone I've wanted to grow into. I'm so happy that #TechTogether has provided the opportunity for me to share my idea with a team of folx who worked with me to get this started." - Audra
FEMA, the CDC, Ready.Gov, State, and local municipalities all have Emergency and Disaster preparedness programs and initiatives. Every level of government has varying levels of success and effectiveness.
Governmental Disaster and Emergency Preparedness programs provide a lot of information (digital and paper) for individuals and families to prepare for Emergency Events and Natural disaster but little support in executing the tasks needed to prepare for and emergency.
In addition to government initiatives, there is a sub-culture of "disaster prep" or "prepping" that contains a variety of personalities, beliefs, and inciting concerns. While the prepping community has tremendous presence online, many of the resources are written for any by (presumably) able-bodies cis-men for them to use.
Both of these groups generate and share disaster preparedness packing lists with a wide audience that overlook supplies necessary for people who menstruate, babies in diapers, people who use wheel chairs, safer sex practices, self-care; or make a note that the list can be amended to meet each individuals needs. These lists leave many of us out in the extreme cold, extreme heat, or running from a natural disaster that individuals and families can not prevent but everyone can prepare for.
TeamPrepE recognizes that no disaster prep packing list can be complete for everyone; but we can produce solutions that are bother comprehensive and equitable by having technologists, government employees, queer people, disabled people, young people, older adults, and even preppers collaborate to Prepare Everyone!
What it does
TeamPrepE believes that technology can be use to remove some of the friction in having EVERYONE prepare to for the first 72 hours of an emergency, surviving the emergency as it unfolds, and being set up for success in the recovery process. Our application is a small offering in helping populations prepare for the extreme weather events that will continue to occur with Climate Change and other emergencies that displace families from their homes.
Preparedness Family Background Quiz PrepE is creating a tools that makes it easier to care for each family member's unique needs during an emergency event. PrepE is designed for one family member to take the lead in Preparing Everyone (both humans and pets) to evacuate their home in an emergency event. The user is asked six questions about their family's location, size, and needs. #TeamPrepE enriches checklists created government organizations and more traditions disaster prep enthusiasts by having the user identify when their loved one is part of a socially vulnerable population (https://tinyurl.com/as-defined-by-the-CDC) so the 72 Hour Bag Packing List is adjusted to meet their family member's specific needs.
Preparedness_72 Hour Bag Packing List_ After the user completes the quiz a packing list is generated to reflect family member needs. Supplies to meet basic needs are automatic. Every adult person needs 2 gallons of water per day. If you have three adults in your family PrepE will do the math and tell you need at least 18 gallons of drinking water to prepare everyone for the first 72 hours of an Emergency. PrepE has a collection of specialized packing lists that are activated when a family member is socially vulnerable is identified in the quiz. The majority of packing lists created by government organizations and disaster prep enthusiast are static - pieces of paper with items to acquire and check off once packed or ignore. Other resources may include a note to pack enough diapers for the baby, have a month's supply of medicine, or include vaccination paperwork for pets. We are developing a solution to support the user in managing the variable of who needs what to survive an emergency and thrive during the recovery.
Response_EMS Map_ Initially we planned to have an evacuation route provided to the user via Google Maps. In the Family Background Quiz, users were asked for their zip code and using that information, we found the closest hospital to them. From there, the user could allow access to location and would be provided a route to a hospital.
How we built it
We used Android Studio as our main IDE to create our app along with mySQL and Google Maps API. We all took parts of our project and combined bits and pieces of code throughout the event. In the end we created an app that's able to run!
Throughout this process we kept track of the resources that we found, experimented with, and implemented in our app development (https://tinyurl.com/PrepE-Resources).
Challenges we ran into
We had several challenges from start to finish, however, we made strides throughout the project! Even though our initial idea didn't come into fruition, we were still able to create an app. Our first problem was not being able to connect our app to a jdbc Database in AWS cloud. We then had to read our data as a .csv file instead. Another problem we came across was using Google Maps API to route to a specific location, we were only able to display current location. Our last large issue was compiling our separate codes into one app, it was more challenging than we expected. In the end, we were able to come up with new ways to overcome these obstacles and are happy with our project!
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are all very proud of creating an app on Android Studio since it is all our first time using this IDE. We didn't expect to submit a working project, but we couldn't be happier!
What we learned
We all learned so much during #TechTogether and are going away from this much more confident in our coding as well as our problem solving skills.
What's next for PrepE
There were several features that we weren't able to implement such as packing lists for specific disasters and every vulnerability categories, an interactive emergency preparedness planner, and features to support users during an emergency even and on the long road to recovery after being displaced . We hope that we can keep working on this to create a comprehensive and equitable emergency preparation app!
PrepE is brought to you by:
- Naima Matahri, Boston University, Computer Science, ADCP
- Gloria Lee, Boston University, Computer Science, ADCP
- Shravya Raj, Northeastern, Computer Science
- Jasmine Rocci, MacGill University, Immunology
- Audra Jamai White, Suffolk University, Philosophy & Government