Our team was thinking about the problems of today and we we're really affected by the influence of Hurricane Harvey on the people of Texas. We knew that many people in need during the floods were unable to contact the authorities through FEMA or 911 because of the massive amount of traffic. This problem wasn't only one way, many potential first response volunteers were unable to get in contact with people in need because the channels to do so were inundated.
We are really worried about Hurricane Irma and hope that the people of central and southern Florida are able to get the attention they deserve. That's where we come in!
What it does
IRMA or Instant Relief and Medical Attention, allows first response volunteers to connect with people in need. In our app flow, first response volunteers can sign up via SMS and are sent the location of endangered people. This allows the needy to be put in touch with the helpful.
How it works
Our entire app works on Twilio to send both first response volunteers, and trapped or unsafe citizens SMS messages. Each user is prompted to give their name and approximate address which are then passed to our mongoDB database for storage. When a first responder is looking for someone in need, the server will return the nearest person and the volunteer can be on his/her way.
In addition to this SMS based platform, those with a stable enough internet access can request help, or volunteer their help with our website. In addition we wanted to include a Facebook share button because many first responders and citizens of Texas during Hurricane Harvey used Facebook and other social media to request help and provide aid.
Challenges we ran into
Our team had to learn how to use the Twilio api, parse data onto mongoDB and use the google maps api for geo location and route planning. Finding the nearest person in need or first response volunteer was also challenging as we wanted to handle that server side with our mongopy wrapper.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're proud to have worked on a project which can have actual impact for those less fortunate than us living in Florida,or anywhere hit by a hurricane or flood. Our technology is fairly robust for a hackathon and we see where there is room to grow for a more mature product.
What's next for IRMA
Although IRMA was built a bit too late for use in the upcoming Hurricane Irma, we are far from seeing the last Hurricane and anything our tech can do to grow is an option for deployment during the next big storm.