Disaster Networks for the Digital Age: utilizing new technologies to understand the impact to storms in the anthropocene
During the 2017 hurricane season, the University of Florida (UF) partnered with the Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF), the National Heritage Responders (NHR), and the University of Texas (UT) to pilot a program to proactively reach out to libraries, archives, museums, and other heritage organizations impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The goal of the project was to connect local institutions with state and national resources to facilitate recovery following specific disasters, but increasing ferocity of Caribbean basin hurricanes means that traditional, local disaster networks may not always be able to respond to widely destructive storms. New forms of digital networks can connect geographically dispersed institutions, and provide a pathway to share needed recovery information and resources. This paper will introduce the roles of the HENTF and NHR in the US; discuss the use of digital tools to lead a volunteer-led phone-banking project; share initial findings from the data collected; and reflect on some lessons to take into consideration for future projects and hurricane seasons. The session will provide the audience with a range of practical information on enacting their own phone-banking after local disasters, as well as insights into the breadth of damage from Irma in the state of Florida.