Reaching Out to Friends and Family

First prize and $10,000 went to developers of an app named Lifeline that will be launched before this year's hurricane season.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response recently chose three winners of its challenge to develop Facebook apps that help users prepare for emergencies and get support from their friends and family during an emergency. The ASPR Facebook Lifeline Application Challenge invited software application developers to design new app to establish social connections prior to an emergency.

First prize went to two Brown University graduates, Evan Donahue and Erik Stayton, with their Lifeline app. Coming in second was a Las Vegas team (David Vinson, Erick Rodriguez, Gregg Orr, and Garth Winckler) with an app named JAMAJIC 360. Third went to AreYouOk? developed by TrueTeamEffort, a team of University of Illinois students headed by Alex Kirlik.

All three allow a user to designate Facebook friends who agree to check on the user in an emergency; supply him or her with shelter, food, and other necessities; and provide that person's social network with an update about his or her well-being. The Lifeline app can create disaster readiness plans, share them with emergency contacts, and provide users with news. It also allows Facebook friends to collaborate on tracking the user's status in a disaster-affected area "so these friends can easily find the user's lifelines and contact them to report that the user is safe or if the user appears to be missing. This networked approach," according to ASPR, "increases the efficiency of finding missing users. The app allows users to print cards with a snapshot of their preparedness plan to carry in their wallets."

Its announcement said the Lifeline app is anticipated to be launched within a few months -- before the start of this year's hurricane season. Donahue and Stayton received $10,000 and complimentary passes to the Health 2.0 conference in Boston this month. The JAMAJIC 360 team received $5,000, and TrueTeamEffort received $1,000.

"Having people you can depend on for help is especially important during a disaster, so we want to encourage everyone to identify those people in advance. Since so many people use Facebook to connect with one another, it seemed like a natural way to help people to identify their lifelines,” said Dr. Nicole Lurie, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response. "People who have friends or relatives they can rely on for help are healthier and live longer than those who don't, which means establishing these social connections can enhance individual and community resilience."

For more information about application challenges sponsored by federal agencies, visit www.challenge.gov. To learn more about ASPR and preparedness, response, and recovery from the health impacts of disasters, visit www.phe.gov.

This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

Download Center

  • The Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping, there are always questions regarding the requirements and in and outs. This guide is here to help!

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide

    Thinking of getting an online safety training solution at work but not sure how to evaluate different solutions and find the one that's best for your company? Use this handy buyer's guide to learn the basics of selecting online safety training and how to use it at your workplace.

  • SDS Software Buyer's Guide

    Whether this is your first time shopping for online SDS software or you’re upgrading from a legacy solution, this guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that works best for you and your company.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Vector Solutions

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2021

    November December 2021

    Featuring:

    • GAS DETECTION
      How to Streamline Gas Detector Maintenance
    • OSHA TOP 10
      OSHA's Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for FY 2021
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      How PPE Can Help You Deal with the Harsh Condition of Winter
    • HEARING PROTECTION
      Tackling Hearing Protection in the Workplace
    View This Issue