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How to volunteer tech/net services, etc for Katrina cleanup

  • From: Joe Abley
  • Date: Fri Sep 02 16:14:01 2005

In the interests of providing willing volunteers with a productive place to offer their services, I just read the following:

This is arguably off-topic for this list, for which I apologise. However, I thought it was worth sharing given the increasing number of people trying to use the NANOG list to volunteer to help.

Text follows.


Quick notes from conference call hosted by the FCC today about urgently coordinating resources and personnel from internet/ wireless service providers to get communications networks up and running in in gulf states.

Lack of communications systems has been identified as a critical issue holding back aid, missing persons, law enforcement, etc. in crisis areas.

FCC personnel are working throughout the weekend to coordinate these efforts with private industry, with wireless technology groups, FEMA, and state governments in Mississippi, Louisiana, etc.

One of the challenges they face in this effort is fact that the coordination effort involves multiple layers of bureaucracies -- also, that there has been no central point for directing available assets offered by private industry. Participants on the call included folks from Cisco, Intel, and wireless organizations.

Another challenge: working with FEMA and local governments to ascertain whether it is more immediately effective to get old systems up and running, or create new temporary ones. Depends on tech behind communications system in question.

FCC Chief of Staff Dan Gonzales (dan dot gonzales at fcc dot org) says

FCC needs the following information from would be tech donors BY NOON EASTERN ON SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 3.

1) identify the provider (name of your company or group)
2) identify assets you are willing to commit
3) state clearly what assets you are technologically capable of providing (IP? data? voice?)
4) what your logistical requirements are to bring that to the affected area.
5) can you bring generators? if so what size? capacity? power levels?


PART-15.ORG (they have an online submission form to collect this data)

contacts: Michael Anderson ( 630-466-9090, and Claudia Crowley (ccrowley at gmail dot com), 817-292-0230.

Snip from website:

The FCC and FEMA is in a desperate need to reestablish communications in the disaster area. More specifically, the metropolitan area of New Orleans and it's surrounding areas. What can Wireless access internet service providers do to help? We can reestablish internal communications and provide connectivity to all disaster relief efforts by installing point to point, point to multipoint links, IP Web cams to assist the police and fire departments who can not be everywhere in such a large area, VoIP phones to provide voice communications to relief personnel in remote areas and many other types of normal everyday communications that most people take for granted.

To accomplish these goals, we will need not only the License Exempt Industry as a whole, but local communities, major companies, and all others that can provide even the slightest of assistance to our teams.

* FCC reps on the conference call also said they may relax some regulations (power restrictions, etc) but are concerned that the effort be coordinated centrally, carefully, so that various emergency communications "efforts don't end up stepping on each other" and causing more of a tech mess.

* Quote from call participant Jim Duncan, Cisco Critical Infrastructure Insurance group: "Operational issue number one is fuel and energy. Convoy accident happened today with fuel truck heading into one area... getting fuel and power in is critical, nothing can happen in terms of communications without that. Communications priorities will include law enforcement issues, but also missing persons -- getting refugees access to webpages to unite missing families... "

* Some call participants also noted that any volunteers who end up being assigned in the affected area should bring sleeping bags, water, food so as not to strain resources. Hotel rooms, cars are hard to come by. Tech experts who end up coming to the area (by way of coordinated aid efforts) should be prepared to camp out.

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