Tomorrow: The Red Cross and Open Source Technology

At tomorrow’s OpenGov Hack Night, the Red Cross’ Jim McGowan will be talking about how the Red Cross is using open source technology to improve the way they handle disaster services.

FED - American Red Cross Disaster Relief

Red Cross Truck, Photo By C. Holmes

The Chicago Area Red Cross has been looking at how they can utilize technology to improve disaster response for awhile now.

Here’s Jim McGowan talking at the first National Day of Civic Hacking in Chicago.

At the time, the Red Cross was using carbon paper to jot down information about incidents.  At that point, a local organizer would have to enter in the information into a spreadsheet – which would get emailed to a higher office and entered into their spreadsheet – and so on. It wasn’t the most organized of methods.

National Day of Civic Hacking Chicago

Carbon. Paper.

Fast forward to this summer, in which Jim McGowan gave us an update at this year’s National Day of Civic Hacking. For his presentation, Jim McGowan had given a demo of DCSOPs.

The Red Cross of Greater Chicago has been piloting a program called DCSOps – short for Disaster Cycle Services Operations. Originally, piloted in Chicago – the system is now used to dispatch and track more than 2,300 disasters annually in the 13-county Greater Chicago Region and has recently been deployed in New York and Los Angeles.

DSCOps is an ongoing open source project that you can find out their GitHub Repository.

At tomorrow’s hack night, we’ll hear about how the projects being rolled out nationwide and how the Red Cross is handling the transition. You can watch the event live on our YouTube channel starting at 6:15pm and see the slides here. You can register to attend the hack night on their website. We’ll be having deep dish sponsored by Code for America.