When disaster strikes a community, or as we recently witnessed with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria – entire regions are left without reliable communications.
The Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC), now in its 10th year, provides in-kind communications and technical resources that connect survivors and responders, and help communities continue operating after a disaster. ITDRC is an all-volunteer organization, whose mission is made possible through corporate and private donations, grants, product and services.
ITDRC was founded in 2008 by a handful of volunteers in Fort Worth, Texas. A decade later, the organization has grown from a small group of “idealistic volunteers” to a nationwide disaster response organization with 1,000 credentialed volunteers across 10 geographical regions.
Last year was a tough year for the United States in terms of natural disasters. Damage from hurricanes alone was more than $300 billion dollars; but the human toll was immeasurable. Our mission is to enable survivors to communicate with loved ones and provide first responders with communications solutions. ITDRC volunteers logged more than 40,000 hours responding to 15 major disasters; establishing 159 sites in 85 communities.
Hurricane Maria (Puerto Rico)
After Maria struck the island of Puerto Rico, power and communications were down on the majority of the island. Fiber networks were thrashed, and more than 90 percent of cell towers were knocked offline. ITDRC received a request for assistance from the government of Puerto Rico, and immediately dispatched a team of volunteers and equipment.
Over the last seven months, more than 50 technical volunteers from ITDRC have worked to establish temporary communications in 80 sites; connecting survivors, responders, and key critical sites.
You Can Help!
ITDRC could not help communities in crisis without support from industry and technology partners. Our lifeblood is the volunteers and product and service donations from socially responsible companies like Cisco, Dell, Dish Network, Google, HP, Ruckus (Arris), and support from Southwest Airlines, just to name a few.
Joe Hillis is the Operations Director, Information Technology Disaster Resource Center
ITDRC, which is supported by Wi-Fi NOW, is a non-profit organisation for reconnecting communities in crisis.
To find out how you and your organization can help connect communities in crisis with ITDRC, visit www.itdrc.org and fill out the online volunteer registration form. We are not only looking for technical people, we also need help with human resources, finance, and operations. ITDRC is split into Western, Central, and Eastern divisions, a total of 10 sub-regions where volunteers are encouraged to attend ITDRC events and network with one another.