Inspiration

Topics presented by the Alexa Tech For Good challenge (specifically in "Disaster Relief" category): the most valuable resource for people during, before and after a disaster event is information - get notified early, know how to get ready, check if you are in a flood zone, know how to survive when it hits, find a shelter, know how to stay safe after. This is exactly what this skill does - no need to dig websites and wait for radio updates, just ask your Echo device to get all the information you need.

What it does

This skill lets you

  • listen to weather emergency alerts specific to your location
  • find open shelters in your area
  • check if your home is in a flood zone
  • learn about natural and man-made disasters, catastrophes and crisis events, how to prepare for them, what to do when you are in a middle of one and how to recover after

USAGE EXAMPLES: Alexa, ask Crisis Response for my alerts? Alexa, ask Crisis Response how to survive a Hurricane? My emergency alerts? Find a shelter in my area? Is my home in a flood zone? How do I prepare for an Earthquake? What to do in the middle of an Active Shooter situation? What happens after Nuclear Power Plant Accident? What is a Tsunami? What to do after a Home Fire? Tell me about getting ready for a Flood?

Emergency alerts, open shelters lookup and flood zone lookup features are currently supported for the following locations: United States and its territories.
*U.S. National Weather Service (which is the source of the alerts) may at times be slow or unavailable. If it takes a while to retrieve your alerts or it says "unavailable", please be patient and retry a bit later.

Preparedness and survival information is supported for the following event types: Earthquakes, Home Fires, Floods, Active Shooters, Explosions and Terrorism, Chemical Emergencies, Food Safety During Emergencies, Hurricanes, Landslides and Debris Flow, Extreme Heat, Nuclear Power Plant Emergencies, Thunderstorm and Lightning, Tornadoes, Tsunami, Volcanoes, Wildfires, Snowstorms and Extreme Cold, Power Outages, Nuclear Explosions, Epidemics and Pandemics

How I built it

ASK Java SDK, Hosted on Lambda, Alexa Device Address API, Google Geocoding API, National Weather Service API, FEMA disaster information websites

Challenges I ran into

Planned to consume CAP alert feeds for multiple countries, but due to lack of time and limited CAP hubs' exposure that would be a task for the future

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Learned how to validate CAP alert polygon geometry fits user's coordinate. Did not use it in this version of the skill, but it's sure exciting and will come handy in the future versions.

What I learned

CAP alert hubs exist (even maintained by Amazon's and Google's projects), but they are not as open as they should be. If we want to let people access emergency alerts easily, these services should be more organized and exposed as APIs (even as a paid for subscription)

What's next for Crisis Response

Depending on the interest to the skill: 1) Expand support for emergency alerts beyond US and territories, add support for additional alert type feeds 2) Get access to Alexa Notifications API (which is not public yet) and consider implementing actual Alexa emergency alert notifications for user's who enabled the skill (possibly as a premium service)

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