Not Just Child’s Play

Disaster response and coordination isn't only the concern of adults. According to a recent article in the Dallas News, three North Texas teenagers have stepped into the field with the development of an app intended to track volunteers working in emergency response and to ensure communities get the federal aid to which they are entitled.

Called CERTPRO, the app was created by Sahitya Senapathy, Rushil Chander, and Ashwin Koduri, working under the name of Team Protons, as their entry into the 13th annual eCybermission STEM competition, hosted by the Army Education Outreach Program.

With CERT, which stands for Community Emergency Response Team, the team’s entry offers the ability to track volunteer numbers and hours, as well as maintaining a real-time database of CERT members with special skills. This tracking of volunteer numbers and hours is of particular importance as these metrics are important inputs into the determination of the amount of aid provided by FEMA. Without accurate numbers, communities may not receive the proper amount of assistance from the federal government for their recoveries.

To ensure the appropriateness of their app, the teens worked with the city of Plano, discussing what responders would need. While their app has yet to be deployed in an actual disaster response situation, it has been deployed for the purposes of training, generating positive reviews from local officials, who hope to see it eventually used as a means of organization and communication.

“At this time, the city of Plano does not have a functional method of searching for, locating, coordinating, or activating unique and/or special talents found within the ranks of our CERT members,” Plano CERT coordinator Ron Moore told the Dallas News.

 

For more details on their efforts and experiences of Team Proton, click here:

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/education/headlines/20150622-3-teens-make-finals-of-national-tech-contest.ece