|Sep. 23rd, 2005 10:51 pm Heading for the Gulf Coast|
I've decided to go down to the Gulf Coast for a couple of weeks, to help out with hurricane relief efforts. I now have little bandaids on both shoulders, from a quick trip to the doctor to get Tetanus and Hepatitis-A vaccinations. I expect to spend the next couple of days scrambling to get packed, and then I'll be departing late Sunday night.4 comments - Leave a comment
Jeff Allen, a colleague and former coworker at Tellme, has been down there for the last week or so (see his blog), working with a group called Radio Response to establish Internet and telephone (via VoIP) connectivity to shelters, medical centers, and relief organizations operating in the area. It sounds like they're good folks, and it looks like they're doing good and useful work, so I'm going to go help out. They're currently working mostly in the small Mississippi towns across the delta from New Orleans, which were just as hard hit but haven't gotten the national media attention that New Orleans has.
I'm scheduled to fly Delta to Pensacola, FL overnight Sunday-Monday (25-26 Sep 05), where I've got a rental SUV reserved. I plan to pick up the SUV, load up on supplies (water, food, etc.; whatever I need to be self-sufficient, but can't bring with me on the flight), and then drive to the Bay St. Louis, MS area to hook up with the Radio Response folks. I currently expect to stay down there for 2 weeks; I'm booked to fly back to the Bay Area on 9 Oct 05, though I might change that, depending on circumstances. I'm supposed to give a talk at BayLISA on 20 Oct 05, which I still need to write, and I fully intend to do that (the talk, coincidentally, which has been scheduled for weeks, is called "Incident Command for IT: What We Can Learn from the Fire Department", and is about how fire departments and other emergency services agencies organize themselves on the fly to deal with large-scale and evolving emergencies).
There's also a chance that I'll get called up by Civil Air Patrol to head to Texas to help deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Rita. If so, I'll divert from MS, and try to let folks know here where I am.
I expect to have good Internet connectivity throughout my stay, though cell phone service may be intermittent, so the best way to reach me will be by email.
If you want to help, Radio Response can use cash donations (see their web site). They're also seeking old-but-working PCs which they can set up as Internet access terminals in shelters and other facilities. They want Pentium 3 or greater, any amount of memory, any amount of disk; send the keyboard and mouse, but don't send the monitor (they have plenty of monitors already). They'll reformat the disk and install the OS and software that's needed. They can do a limited amount of mix-and-match from broken machines to produce working machines, but have already-working machines would obviously save them time and effort for other tasks.