IEEE MOVEs Technology into Action for Disaster Relief

IEEE MOVE truck providing support in the Florida Keys. Credit: Grayson Randall

Natural disasters including multiple hurricanes, with flooding and wind damage, have recently devastated areas in the US. IEEE volunteers were able to assist in recovery efforts though IEEE MOVE Community Outreach – a mobile emergency relief program committed to assisting victims of natural disasters. Trained volunteers use their skills and the MOVE truck to assist the public with short-term power, communications, and computer solutions. 

“In the last two deployments, we were sent to locations that sustained the worst damage,” says Grayson Randall, technologist, IEEE Senior Member and MOVE volunteer. “We are able to operate in areas that have no power or cell phone towers and provide the communications necessary to support the life sustaining essentials that people need immediately after the event.”

Response to Recent Disasters

“We have been very busy the last few months. In May, we were in Missouri to assist with flooding. In late August, we assisted the Red Cross in supporting a Safe and Well mission in western North Carolina for the total solar eclipse. Then we went directly to Houston Texas for Hurricane Harvey and then transferred to Florida to support the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.  We were most recently on the road for over 30 days and covered over 5,000 miles with the MOVE truck,” says Randall.

IEEE MOVE truck delivering phone service in Fort Myers, Florida. Credit: Grayson Randall

The MOVE truck has a 10Kw generator, solar panels, wifi, and ethernet over satellite. All these technologies support  IEEE-related standards that make them broadly applicable to local needs. In Florida, MOVE provided IP phone support over our satellite link that enabled people in the shelter to contact loved ones as well as the Red Cross leadership that were coordinating the disaster response.

“Both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma had a big impact on me. In Houston, we supported the shelter at the George R Brown convention center. In 48 hours, we received over 10,000 people needing shelter and assistance. Seeing all those people with little more than the clothes on their backs is very powerful. And in Florida, the lower keys were devastated. We saw so much damage to homes and business that had no power, cell phone support, or drinkable water. Being able to assist those in need is very fulfilling.” says Randall.

The MOVE program has supported the Red Cross in nine disasters – and has been featured in many IEEE STEM and public outreach programs since the MOVE truck went into service in March of 2016.

Damage from Hurricane Irma in Fort Myers, Florida. Credit: Grayson Randall

You Can Help – Volunteer and Donate

The MOVE truck is operated by IEEE volunteers.  “We can always use more volunteers for deployments and STEM outreach. To date, we have trained over 100 people. We have a one-day IEEE training that is frequently done at a section. Following the IEEE training, you will cross-train on Red Cross procedures and equipment. Then, you are eligible to deploy to disasters. We also have volunteers that deploy individually to disasters with the Red Cross to support their technology needs.

A residential street near Houston, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey. Credit: Grayson Randall

Volunteers are also needed for presentations and public outreach programs with the truck. We are looking for people to assist with STEM activities that we can integrate into the MOVE program as well as ways to expand the visibility of IEEE utilizing MOVE,” says Randall.

MOVE Community Outreach is an IEEE-USA initiative that is supported by donations to the IEEE-USA MOVE Community Outreach Fund of the IEEE Foundation. “We can always use help getting donations from individuals and companies. We continue to look for ways to expand the MOVE program. Whether it is STEM, public outreach, or disasters… IEEE members are encouraged to assist and continue to develop this exciting program,” says Randall.

RV park destroyed by Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys. Credit: Tim Forrest

Go to move.ieeeusa.org for additional information or to donate to the MOVE program. If you wish to monitor MOVE operations, join the MOVE Community Outreach Inside Scoop Community in IEEE Collabratec ™

Comments

    • You can see some of the work being done by MOVE in Puerto Rico in their community: https://ieee-collabratec.ieee.org/app/community/121/MOVE-Community-Outreach-Inside-Scoop/activities

Comments are closed.