I am pleased to announce that we had a very successful meeting with an Australian-based safety-oriented company last night. They are very eager to learn about what problems face the current environment of reporting things here in Kentucky, and want to help change the way weather is handled here in Kentucky.
So what exactly are the current struggles?
At the present time, we are struggling to sift reports from people around the state during weather events. There is the VOST Team, which relays social media posts to the National Weather Service, but we miss things sometimes. And many times, people don’t know what tags to use, or who to tag in them. We rely on phone calls, HAM radio nets, Twitter, and Facebook; we even still use email for photos! It’s time consuming, leads to many low-quality reports, and is slow.
So here’s how we are looking to improve this situation for the commonwealth:
The general public will be granted, on a limited basis, the ability to “say something”, when they “See something.”
Imagine having a barrage of people reporting photos of storm damage. Let’s say for instance, someone reports a “Tree on Powerlines.”
Not only will it be geo-tagged, but a photo can be included right there. Designated prioritizers can assign a priority to the reports, and the Power Company, and the city would be notified of this issue.
EMS & Fire: Know where the roads are blocked much quicker than waiting for dispatch to try to decipher what’s going on.
Utilities: Power and Water companies can be set up to automatically be notified of certain events such as trees on power lines, or water emergencies.
Emergency Managers: Know whats going on in your locale. You’ll be able to watch all of your resources as they respond, and you’ll be able to take corrective actions based on what you see!
NWS: Know where the most amount of damage is occurring in real-time, and be able to directly ask users followup questions, and even mark areas to investigate the day after.
News Outlets: You will have access to all of what’s going on! Pick and choose where to focus your reporting resources, and see photos before you even get there. No more wasted trips.
General Public: Do something good for your community, know where not to go, and watch in real-time as responders mark that they are on their way to take care of the issue.
We are looking to get it set up to be able to report things such as Hail, Rain Totals, Floods, Storm Damage, Snowfall totals, Tornado Reports, and much more!
With any luck, we will begin rolling it out in the next few months for a limited trial for some counties. If it works well, we anticipate all of Central and Eastern Kentucky to be included by 2019, and all of Kentucky to be included by 2020.
Want to discuss it? Leave a comment below!